In this Article
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience but you may find the routine tests, scans and vaccinations too tedious and tiring. Well, these are not only important for your healthy pregnancy but they also ensure proper growth and development of your unborn child. One such important vaccine in pregnancy is an Anti-D injection. Wondering why you need to take this vaccination? Here’s all you need to know about Anti-D injection during pregnancy.
What is the Anti-D Injection
Anti-D or RHO vaccination is prescribed to you by your doctor if you have a “Rhesus negative” blood group or “Rhesus factor”. This injection is administered to the expecting moms to protect their babies from getting infected with the rhesus disease. Rhesus disease occurs when there is a disparity between the mother’s and her baby’s blood groups. This injection does not pose any threat to your baby; rather it protects you and your baby from any medical complications that may arise because of the blood mix up. This injection not only protects your baby but it is also extremely effective in providing protection in any future pregnancies.
Why is It Needed in Pregnancy
You will need Anti-D injection if your blood group and your baby’s blood do not match. That is if you are RhD negative and it is suspected that your baby may be RhD positive (in cases where the baby’s father is RhD positive); you will be given this vaccination. This injection is needed because there are many accounts in pregnancy when the mother’s and her baby’s blood may come in contact or mix with each other’s blood. There is a great possibility that this may happen during childbirth, any bleeds from the placenta during pregnancy or other conditions. There may be no complications under these conditions where both mom and her baby have the same RhD status. However, where the blood group status does not match, serious complications may arise.
Your body may consider your baby’s blood as a foreign invader and thus your immune system may act severely towards it by making antibodies to fight this invasion. Once these antibodies get formed, these cannot be removed from your body. These antibodies will destroy your baby’s blood that may have entered in your body and result in serious medical complications in your baby. It may cause jaundice, anemia or may even attack your baby’s nervous system. This process is called sensitization and every time your body experiences any foreign invasion, the same action takes place. These antibodies are not only fatal for the existing pregnancy but if no vaccination is taken to act on these antibodies; it may lead to major complications in your future pregnancies as well.
The Anti-d injection will neutralize your baby’s blood that may enter your body and no antibodies will be formed in your blood.
When is the Anti-D Injection Recommended
You will be recommended Anti-D injection in the following cases:
- This injection is administered to all RhD mothers during pregnancy (if their baby is RhD positive).
- If you had to terminate your pregnancy or you had an abortion
- If you have had a miscarriage
- If you have undergone any medical procedures such as amniocentesis, fetal blood sampling or chorionic villus.
Taking Anti-D vaccination reduces the chances of your body forming any antibodies from 1.5 percent to 0.2 percent. In case a mother is administered this vaccine within 72 hours after any medical complication or procedure, it will effectively neutralize the baby’s cells that may have entered mother’s bloodstream.
Anti-D injection is administered in two doses and these are usually given in 28 to 34 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor may administer this injection on your thigh or buttock. In case you have bleeding problems, then you may be given this vaccine subcutaneously or under the skin.
Side Effects of Anti-D Injection
Anti-D injection is made from the plasma obtained from the human blood. The blood is usually given by donors and it is screened strictly for any trace of viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C etc. The plasma thus obtained rarely causes any complications when administered in the form of a vaccine. However, following side effects of anti-RH injection during pregnancy may be noticed:
- Discomfort at the site of injection
- Swelling at the site of injection
- Allergic reaction at the site of injection
Your health care practitioner may ask you to stay in the hospital for half an hour after administering the anti d vaccine. This is to monitor if you develop any pain or discomfort from the injection.
Though the above-mentioned side effects do not cause major medical complications, if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should seek immediate medical help.
Anti-D is not harmful to you or your baby and your doctor may advise you to go in for the Anti-D vaccine, even if you and your husband are RhD negative. Your doctor may also conduct a blood test for your baby’s father to confirm the father’s RhD status. Though it is rare for RhD negative male to have D antigen traces, the possibility is still there.
In case if you do not plan to have more babies in future, you may skip getting this vaccine in pregnancy. However, if you are unsure or not certain about your decision, it is recommended to go in for the Anti-D vaccine. It is quite likely that your doctor may strongly recommend this vaccine in either case.
Also Read: HCG Injection during Pregnancy