Sometimes I am amazed at the vital information that has passed me by for my thirty three years on earth. Having attended the best schools throughout my educational life, I thought there will be no information that will sound totally new to me but that was me showing my naivety even through that thought. I am not a medic but there is a lot of mention about sickle cell( read a couple’s account on it here), HIV/AIDS, malaria, Tuberculosis, Cholera and recently, Lupus. I had never heard of the Rhesus (rh) factor till my husband and I visited a friend of ours who happens to be a doctor a week earlier. I was in the third month of my pregnancy. A week later, we returned for the results and I was totally spooked when she asked if I knew that I was rhesus negative. Was it another of the crosses women had to carry as if what we bear isn’t enough already? Ben must have noticed the scare on my face. Well, one could not be too sure when a negative score meant no harm and when it did when it comes to health so I had every reason to be scared.
My doctor noticing our discomfort cut through our individual thoughts when she said it was nothing to be so worried about;
“Rhesus (Rh) factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If your blood has the protein, you’re Rh positive. If your blood lacks the protein, you’re Rh negative.
Rh positive is the most common blood type. Having an Rh negative blood type is not an illness and usually does not affect your health. However, it can affect your pregnancy. Your pregnancy needs special care if you’re Rh negative and your baby is Rh positive (Rh incompatibility). A baby can inherit the Rh factor from either parent”.
“Oh wow, we aren’t going back to that clinic for antennal again if in your third month this test hasn’t been done yet”, Ben said. I then asked what could be done so my pregnancy wasn’t affected and why the test needed to be done anyway. After all, I felt beyond the fact that I was eating for two, I was totally fine.
Our friend, the doctor proceeded to answer my question;
Because you’re Rh negative, you might need to have another blood test — an antibody screen — during your first trimester, which you are in now, during week 28 of pregnancy and at delivery. The antibody screen is used to detect antibodies to Rh positive blood. If you haven’t started to produce Rh antibodies, you’ll likely need an injection of a blood product called Rh immune globulin. The immune globulin prevents your body from producing Rh antibodies during your pregnancy.
If your baby is born Rh negative, no additional treatment is needed. If your baby is born Rh positive, you’ll need another injection shortly after delivery. If you’re Rh negative and your baby might be or is Rh positive, we might recommend an Rh immune globulin injection after situations in which your blood could come into contact with the baby’s blood. Examples of such situations are in an occurrence of a miscarriage, bleeding during pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, abdominal trauma during pregnancy and others. But don’t worry at all. Now that you know your Rhesus factor status, we know what to do.
I felt a relief but I was still worried. Ben then asked if he didn’t have to know his and if it played any role in our child’s status. Our friend said he needed to know too and showed us a chart.
Later, we found out that Ben was negative as well and soon we will know that of our baby’s.
Well, what is the point in sharing such personal information, you will wonder. Ben and I decided to share this information with other soon –to –be or parents to get checked, if they haven’t. It also to draw attention to the fact that no one knows it all thus reading any and everything should be a must especially now that the internet makes it easier to do. Internet use should not be limited to social media and trolling. No matter how far up you have climbed on the educational ladder, be willing to learn something new a day. Make a conscious effort to garner knowledge on health, wealth, sports, religion and any other genre that matters to our livelihood. Even though we are yet to know our child’s status, we are no longer as scared as before because we are armed with enough information on what to do in either situations. And when you have gathered some information, do well to share it with others because like Bruce Coville said, “Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”