Know Your Partner’s Blood Type Before Starting A Family
Affinity Health – providers of affordable health cover – explains why your blood type can play a crucial role in your unborn baby’s health.
What is Your Blood Type?
If you’re thinking of starting a family, there are a few health concerns you may not have considered. One of these is your type.
There are four main groups – A, B, AB, and O, and you likely already know what group you fall into. If you don’t, a simple blood test can tell you the answer.
Your blood type depends on which genes you inherited from your parents and – combined with your partner’s type – will determine which type your children will have.
Why are blood types important when wanting to start a family, you may ask? Because if you decide on having a baby, your blood type can impact your child’s health.
Rhesus (Rh) factor is a type of protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If your blood has the protein, you’re Rh-positive. If you lack the protein, you’re Rh-negative. The majority of us, roughly 85%, are Rh-positive, leaving about 15% of the population Rh-negative.
Rh incompatibility happens when a woman who is Rh-negative falls pregnant with a baby with Rh-positive blood.
While Rh incompatibility does not affect a pregnant woman, it can affect their unborn baby.
Rh incompatibly can cause a baby to develop a condition known as haemolytic anaemia. The condition causes a baby’s red cells to be destroyed faster than they can be replaced. While some cases of haemolytic anaemia are mild, others can be life-threatening.
A baby with severe haemolytic anaemia may need a transfusion through the umbilical cord or suffer jaundice and need special lights to reduce bilirubin levels. They may also experience liver or heart failure.
Checking Your Baby’s Blood
“Your health care provider will recommend a blood type and Rh factor screening test during your first prenatal visit. The Rh factor test is a simple blood test. It won’t harm you or your baby.
The doctor will use a needle to take a small amount from your arm. This will identify whether your cells carry the Rh factor protein,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“Rh factor is genetic and as such, it is not possible to choose which type of Rh your baby has. But, if you are an Rh-negative woman with an Rh-positive baby, you can prevent Rh incompatibility by receiving certain medication (known as Rh immune globulin) during your pregnancy.”
Your blood type is an important topic to discuss with your healthcare provider. With early detection and treatment of Rh incompatibility, you can focus on more important things – like welcoming a healthy baby into the world.
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About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.