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If I'm pregnant, what are the risks to my baby and me if I'm Rh negative?

Rh factor is a protein that 85 percent of people have on red blood cells. These people are called "Rh-positive." If you belong to the 15 percent of the population that doesn't have the protein, you're known as "Rh-negative." Since Rh-positive individuals are in the majority, it is likely that your baby's father may be Rh-positive, so your baby may also be Rh-positive.

If you have Rh-negative blood and your baby's father is Rh-positive, you and your baby may develop health problems. To reduce this risk, your health care provider will offer you injections of Rho (D) immune globulin (RhoGAM) at or around 28 weeks of pregnancy. The drug prevents your body from recognizing Rh-positive cells so your body will not attack and destroy your baby's blood cells. After the baby is born, his/her Rh status will be determined and, if the baby is Rh-positive, you will be offered RhoGAM again. Receiving RhoGAM while pregnant will not harm you or your baby, even if, after delivery, the baby is found to be Rh-negative like you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.