Rh-induced hemolytic disease of the newborn
Definition of Rh incompatibility
Rh incompatibility is a condition that develops when a pregnant woman has Rh-negative blood and the baby in her womb has Rh-positive blood.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
During pregnancy, red blood cells from the fetus can get into the mother’s bloodstream as she nourishes her child through the placenta.
Rh incompatibility can cause symptoms ranging from very mild to deadly. In its mildest form, Rh incompatibility causes destruction of red blood cells.
Signs and tests
There may be:
Since Rh incompatibility is almost completely preventable with the use of RhoGAM, prevention remains the best treatment. Treatment of the already affected infant depends on the severity of the condition.
Full recovery is expected for mild Rh incompatibility.
Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/17/2009