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What Is the Rh Factor and How Can It Affect Your Pregnancy?

December 28th, 2017
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Birth Injuries on Thursday, December 28, 2017.

When it comes to prenatal care, some tests are essential, some are recommended, and some may be optional. The precise battery of screening tests and diagnostic procedures that you will undergo at your OB-GYN visits will depend on a variety of factors, including your medical history, your doctor’s recommendations, and your own personal preferences.

One procedure that is essential for all pregnant women is the Rh factor test. Depending on the results of this test, the baby’s father may need to undergo the screening, too.

Fortunately, the procedure for determining Rh factor is a simple blood test; however, if your doctor fails to administer the test, interprets the results incorrectly, or does not take adequate measures following certain results, complications could arise over the course of the pregnancy.

If you received substandard prenatal care and you or your baby suffered as a result, contact The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. A compassionate lawyer can review the circumstances of the case and help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a case evaluation with a medical malpractice attorney in New Orleans.

What Is the Rh Factor?

The Rhesus, or Rh, factor refers to a protein that exists on the surface of red blood cells in most individuals. Early in a woman’s pregnancy, doctors will test her blood to determine her Rh factor. If the woman is Rh-negative but the fetus is Rh-positive, complications can arise, especially in subsequent pregnancies.

What Happens When Rh Incompatibility Exists During Pregnancy?

According to Parents, the majority of the population is Rh-positive, which means most babies are likely to be Rh-positive, as well. If a woman is Rh-negative, there is a chance that her blood is incompatible with the baby’s, and she will need to take certain precautions as a result.

The Mayo Clinic states that expectant women who are Rh-negative may need to receive Rh immunoglobulin (Rhig) injections to prevent their bodies from producing Rh antibodies during pregnancy. Otherwise, these antibodies could cross the placenta and essentially attack the Rh-positive blood of the fetus, which can result in hemolytic anemia.

When Is Rhig Usually Administered?

According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, doctors should administer Rhig injections in the following scenarios if the patient is Rh-negative:

  • At approximately the 28th week of pregnancy;
  • Within 72 hours of delivering an infant who is Rh-positive; and
  • After any situation in which the woman’s blood could have come in contact with the fetus’s, including a miscarriage, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or amniocentesis.

If you are Rh-negative and you or your baby suffered complications as the result of negligent prenatal care, turn to The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. A New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer can review your medical records, interview expert witnesses, and help you calculate the damages your family has incurred as a result.

Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation. If you want to learn more about malpractice claims in Louisiana, visit the USAttorneys website.

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