Ok, so here’s a bit of a medical post for you. Recently the wife has had to have an Anti-D injection. We didn’t know anything about it so I thought, there must be other dads in the same position. Read this, and then you’ll know.
The wife has a silly rare blood group called ‘Rhesus negative’ (RhD Negative) which does bring in to question whether her mother and father are actually her mother and father as they are not this blood group… !
Anyway, because of this what can potentially happen is that if any of the babies blood cells are Rhesus Positive and therefore contrary to the wife’s it causes a conflict. If the babies blood cells make their way across the delicate membranes and into the wife’s blood, her blood cells will treat the babies blood cells as alien cells. Therefore, they will take action against them and in turn kill off, desolate, wipe out, annihilate and destroy the invaders by creating antibodies. (I like to picture these as Spartans from the film 300! “THIS IS SPARTA!” You can tell this is a man’s medical version can’t you?)
This in itself isn’t necessarily a threat to the baby at the moment though. What happens is that the wife’s body is now wise to the threat of these Rhesus Positive cells and if they start to come across the membranes again, they will be faster to react. Now, in child birth (apparently) the babies blood and the wife’s blood might mix quite a bit. This won’t be good because the wife’s blood is all armoured up and ready to wipe out any Persian intruders. (Reference to the Spartans in 300 again.)
There’s also another danger here. If you are planning on having another baby (and we are) the wife’s blood will be so full of Spartan warriors that if the new baby is Rhesus Positive the Spartans will react so quickly the new baby won’t even be able to get going before it’s blood cells are killed. Not good!
There is also 1 more danger. I’ve mentioned that the babies blood cells can make their way across the membranes into the wife’s body…so obviously the newly trained and equipped Spartan warrior blood cells designed to wipe out all Rhesus Positive cells can equally and as easily travel across the membranes into the babies blood. Again, not good!
This is called haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). And this can lead to brain damage and damage to the nervous system.
But, don’t worry. The Anit-D injection is specifically designed to stop HDN. Basically, the Anti-D injection is made up of not Spartan Warriors, but highly trained, SAS, Navy Seal Team 6 who are as effective as Spartan Warriors but quicker, quieter and more efficient. So basically they get to the baby’s Rhesus Positive cells before the wife’s body has the chance to make antibodies. It means that the wife’s body doesn’t become sensitised to the foreign invaders and she doesn’t need any Spartan Warriors, therefore avoiding the whole problem of HDN.
It is strongly recommended if you are planning on having more children, but still recommend even if you’re not. You need to have it between 28 and 30 weeks.
The wife felt a bit sick after having hers, but it was fine.
If the baby is Rhesus Negative, none of this is necessary and just becomes a waste of time. Unfortunately, they don’t / can’t check babies blood.
Hope that all makes sense. :)