Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pregnancy health centre

Select An Article

Rhesus disease

In rhesus disease, antibodies from a pregnant woman's blood attack her growing baby's blood cells. This does not harm the mum, but can be a serious risk to a baby.

Doctors may also call this condition haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN).

The risk of rhesus disease is usually picked up during routine antenatal screening. It occurs when the mum has rhesus negative blood (RhD negative), but her baby in her womb has rhesus positive blood (RhD positive).

Most people are RhD positive, with blood types determined by genes inherited from your parents.

The condition can usually be prevented with anti-D immunoglobulin injections.

However, these injections don't work if the mum has already been sensitised to RhD positive blood. In these cases, extra monitoring will be arranged during the pregnancy and during delivery. If a baby is born with rhesus disease, they may have jaundice or anaemia.

Treatment for rhesus disease after delivery includes phototherapy (light therapy), blood transfusions and intravenous immunoglobulin injections.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on January 04, 2016

Parenting newsletter

Tips to inspire healthy habits.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman reading supplement bottle
Do we really need them?
man holding back
Myths & facts about back pain
hands grabbing knee
How to keep your joints healthy
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy
79x79_hairloss_in_women.jpg
Do you know what causes hair loss?
woman exercising
Exercises for low back pain
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy