A gynaecologist/obstetrician, Nathaniel Adewole, has urged women with B-negative blood, who have had miscarriage before, to always take Rhogam, a drug, during subsequent pregnancies before delivery.
Mr. Adewole told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that taking Rhogam, a special immune globulin, could help prevent rhesus incompatibility in mothers who are negative “if the father of the baby has the B-positive blood or is not known.”
“When a woman is rhesus negative, any time there is miscarriage or delivery, it is better to give what we call anti-D – the common trade name is Rhogam – to avoid sensitisation.
“When it comes to miscarriages and abortion, there is also an element of foetus maternal blood transfer; so, it is advisable that after any miscarriage or abortion, Rhogam should also be given.
“But what I will emphasise is that the quantity of the Rhogam given is affected by gestational age.
“At a lower gestational age, lower dose of Rhogam may be given but at full term a high dose should be given.
“Because the risk of foetus maternal blood transfusion is higher with those with full term delivery.
He, however, stated that not all mothers with the B-negative blood type and who are married to husbands with the rhesus-positive blood type are predisposed to sensitisation as some of them may not be affected naturally.
“But one cannot predict, so it is better to take action when a woman is with rhesus-negative blood, so that anytime there is miscarriage or delivery Rhogam should be given,’’ he said.
According to him, a person who is with rhesus-negative blood does not have the antigen that people that are rhesus-positive have.
He said: “If the antigen from the baby crosses to the mother, the body system of the mother will release it as a foreign body.
“As a result, the woman will develop antibody against the foetus and therefore kill it at one point of conception or the other.
“So, that antibody will be in the mother’s body waiting for the next pregnancy, if that antibody now crosses to the baby it will kill the baby.
“But if by the time the antigen is transferred to the mother and the Rhogam is given it will mop up the antigen so that it will not be able to sensitise the mother.’’
Mr. Adewole, therefore, advised expectant mothers to attend ante-natal clinic always so that all necessary tests could be carried out to determine the mother’s blood group and ensure safety of the child.
“So even if women in the B-positive group deliver babies four times, they would not be sensitised provided the antigens are mopped.”