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Health A-Z

Rhesus antibodies: will they effect my health

Twenty-eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child, the hospital forgot to give me a rhesus injection and I developed rhesus antibodies because my blood group is A negative and my husband's is A positive. Will these ever have any effect on my health?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Women who have a rhesus-negative blood group develop antibodies against the rhesus proteins if they become pregnant with a baby who is rhesus positive. This does not usually cause any problems for the baby in the first pregnancy, but if they become pregnant a second time, the antibodies in the mother's blood can attack the baby's red blood cells with devastating effect. All rhesus-negative pregnant women are now given an injection to prevent them from developing these antibodies. If you were not given this when you were pregnant with a rhesus-positive baby, then your body will have produced antibodies that could have caused serious problems in a future pregnancy. But, luckily for you, rhesus antibodies floating around in your blood will not cause you any problems unless you have any more children (which sounds unlikely, if your oldest child is now 28). Rhesus injections (known as anti-D injections) were first introduced in 1968.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.