What is Blood Incompatibility? How to Treat?

Families facing neonatal jaundice after birth often wonder, “What is blood incompatibility?” Blood incompatibility usually relates to the parents having different blood types, where one is negative (-) and the other is positive (+). If during pregnancy the mother’s blood type is negative and the baby’s is positive, this can negatively affect the baby’s health.

The terms RH negative or RH positive are frequently used concerning blood groups. This depends on whether the RH antigen is present in an individual’s blood. About 80% of people carry this antigen and are called RH positive; those without the antigen are known as RH negative.

During pregnancy, blood incompatibility issues, if not adequately addressed, can lead to serious complications. Therefore, it is crucial for families at risk to get tested for this condition and learn about appropriate treatment methods. Blood incompatibility is a manageable condition with early diagnosis and proper treatment methods. This is a critical step to ensure babies are born healthy.

Blood Incompatibility
Blood Incompatibility

What is Blood Incompatibility and How Does It Occur?

Blood incompatibility is a topic that new parents often wonder about . This occurs when one of the mother and father’s blood groups is RH negative (-) and the other is RH positive (+) . If the mother has a negative blood group and the baby has a positive blood group, this is defined as blood incompatibility. However, the production of antibodies caused by this incompatibility usually begins after the birth of the baby and it should not be expected to cause a serious problem during the first pregnancy.

In Which Situations Does Blood Incompatibility Occur?

Blood incompatibility is caused by RH factor differences and is usually seen in the case of a positive baby from a negative mother. Although it generally does not cause a significant problem in the first pregnancy , the presence of antibodies increases the risk in the second pregnancy . If a preventive injection was not given during the first pregnancy and there is a blood incompatibility between the mother and the baby, the mother’s body may produce antibodies. These antibodies can attack the baby’s blood cells, causing anemia and slowing of cell development, which puts the baby’s healthy development at risk.

Therefore, it is of great importance to treat couples at risk of blood incompatibility . Appropriate treatment methods and preventive measures can prevent possible health problems for the baby, especially in second and subsequent pregnancies.

How is Blood Incompatibility Test Done?

Pregnant women often ask, “How is a blood incompatibility test done?” They ask the question and are worried about whether this test will harm their baby. Blood incompatibility testing is a routine procedure performed with a blood sample taken from the mother’s arm. This procedure is called Indirect Coombs Test (ICT) and is used to determine a possible RH incompatibility between the mother and the baby.

There is no need for the expectant mother and father to be tested together because if the mother is RH negative and the father is RH positive, there is clearly a potential incompatibility issue.

According to the test results, if the ICT test is positive , this indicates the presence of antibodies against the baby in the mother’s blood. In this case, necessary precautions are taken to protect the baby’s health and the appropriate treatment method is determined by a specialist doctor .

How to Treat Blood Incompatibility?

While blood incompatibility usually does not cause problems in the first pregnancy , the risks increase in the second or subsequent pregnancies, especially when the baby’s blood type is positive. Blood incompatibility injection applied between the 28th and 34th weeks greatly minimizes these risks. Additionally, if the baby’s blood type is positive after birth, it is necessary to give a blood incompatibility injection again within the first 3 days after birth.

While the cost of the blood incompatibility injection varies according to private hospitals, it can be administered free of charge in public hospitals and upon recommendation within the scope of SSI.

Treatment is very important for mothers at risk of blood incompatibility. If proper treatment is not administered, the baby may face problems such as postnatal jaundice , which may require the newborn to receive light therapy.

The risk of postpartum depression may increase among mothers, especially when the baby has health problems. Therefore, starting treatment for any health problem on time is of great importance for both your physical and mental health. Not interrupting these treatments allows the mother to adapt to society and her family more quickly.

Jaundice Due to Blood Incompatibility in Babies

Blood incompatibility jaundice in the baby usually occurs 4-5 days after birth and this condition can continue for up to 3 months. This condition, also known as neonatal jaundice, manifests itself with symptoms such as insomnia and yellowing of the skin in babies , and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent health problems. Therefore, methods such as phototherapy, transfusion and drug therapy can be applied. This jaundice condition should be taken seriously and treatment should be started as soon as possible.

There may be cases of jaundice in the baby , where the process may last up to 3 months, especially in babies who cannot receive breast milk. Phototherapy is one of the most common and rapid treatment methods, and it usually takes effect within 1-2 days. However, in rarer cases, treatment can also be performed with exchange transfusion .

By using pregnancy and maternity insurance , you can minimize the expenses you may encounter during pregnancy and after birth. These insurances provide financial support, especially for unexpected medical interventions, and contribute to the family budget.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Blood Incompatibility

1. What Happens If There is a Blood Incompatibility Between Couples?

If there is blood incompatibility between the couples, the first pregnancy usually goes smoothly. However, after the baby is born, jaundice may develop due to blood incompatibility. In second and subsequent pregnancies, untreated blood incompatibility can cause serious health problems for both the baby and the mother.

2. Does Blood Incompatibility Cause Miscarriage?

Although blood incompatibility does not directly cause miscarriage, some complications that may occur may increase the risk of miscarriage. This is especially true when incompatibility-related antibodies harm the baby.

3. Where is the Blood Compatibility Test Done?

Blood incompatibility test can be done in both private and public hospitals. The test is generally recommended for couples at risk and is performed with the guidance of your doctor.

4. When is Blood Incompatibility Injection Performed in the Second Pregnancy?

In the second pregnancy, blood incompatibility injection is administered to the expectant mother between 28 and 34 weeks . This injection is important for RH-negative mothers expecting an RH-positive baby and helps prevent problems that may arise from blood incompatibility in future pregnancies.

5. Is Blood Incompatibility Injection Necessary in Every Pregnancy?

Blood incompatibility injection is usually recommended for RH negative mothers. If an injection was given in the first pregnancy and the baby is expected to be RH positive in the second pregnancy, a repeat injection may be required. Whether this injection is necessary in each pregnancy is evaluated by the doctor depending on the health status of the mother and the baby.

6. Does Blood Incompatibility Injection Cause Side Effects?

Blood incompatibility injections are generally considered safe and do not cause serious side effects. However, some mothers may experience mild pain, redness or swelling after the injection. These side effects are usually temporary and do not cause serious health problems.

7. Does Blood Incompatibility Jaundice Affect the Development of the Baby?

Blood incompatibility jaundice does not usually cause a permanent effect on the baby’s development when managed with early diagnosis and correct treatment methods. But if left untreated, high bilirubin levels can lead to neurological damage and other serious health problems.

8. Can Blood Compatibility Test Be Done Before Pregnancy?

Yes, blood incompatibility testing can be done before couples become pregnant. This is especially recommended for women who are RH negative. Thus, in case of a possible conflict, conscious steps can be taken in advance and necessary precautions can be taken. This is intended to reduce risks in future pregnancies.

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