Friday, June 20, 2008

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Baby Lieb Update

Obviously today is our "due date", whatever that means, and no baby yet. Over the past week the baby has dropped and moved into an ideal birthing position (ROA - Right Occiput Anterior, or back along the right side of the mother's belly). I've been having slightly more intense contractions almost everyday but nothing consistent... they usually stop after an hour or so. However, everything is working toward getting lil Lieb out and I just have to remember that everything is working toward the ultimate goal of birth. It is possible and probable for these random contractions to be thinning and possibly dilating my cervix.

Also, we finally learned my blood type, A-. Which raises slight concern in some people because of the negative bit... but we're trusting God that everything will be OK.

What does this mean?


"Human blood either has the "Rh factor" or it does not. If you have the Rh factor in your blood you're Rh+ and you have nothing to worry about. But if you do not have the Rh factor in your blood then you are Rh- and it could cause complications. Your Rh- blood recognizes the Rh factor as an intruder to your bloodstream and begins to attack it (form antibodies against it). If your baby is Rh+ and your blood mixes with your baby's, then your body could view your baby as a foreign invader and begin attacking the Rh factor in his or her blood.

The chances of you blood hurting your baby are very slim. Your blood and your baby's blood do not mix. They flow side by side, but separated by a thin membrane. Since the blood doesn't mix, no antibodies are manufactured by your body.

Certain things can cause a mother and baby's blood to mix. Sometimes a mix occurs during miscarriage, amniocentesis, chorionic villi sampling (CVS), or major trauma (such as a direct fall on the belly or a car wreck). Mixing can also occur during birth. It's rare during a natural birth where the placenta is allowed to separate on its own. However, interventions increase the risk that a mother and baby's blood will mix.

The anti-D injection (called Rhogam for simplicity's sake) works much like an immunization. It puts a small amount of antibody into the mother's body, effectively "fooling" her body into thinking that the problem has been taken care of. The shot is very effective.

Rhogam is made from human blood plasma (as are all anti-D preparations.) It's highly filtered, but it is still a human blood product. There is still risk of disease from donor blood. There are also other side effects such as swelling and inflammation. Hives and anaphylactic effects are among more severe side effects. Some studies have indicated that having the injection may affect the immune response of both mother and baby to other foreign substances entering the blood stream.

A woman is free to reject or accept any combination of Rhogam (for instance, she can refuse it prenatally and still have it after birth). If a woman chooses not to have Rhogam, there are steps she can take to make it more likely that her blood and her baby's do not mix.

A natural, intervention free birth is the best birth for an Rh- mother wishing to avoid Rhogam. A completely natural birth gives the lowest risk of maternal and fetal blood mixing. Wait for the cord to stop pulsing before it is cut. This allows most of the blood to flow into the baby's body. If the birth is natural and the placenta is born gently, the chances of mother and baby's blood mixing are very low, and so the risk of maternal sensitization is also quite low. "

2 comments:

Will & Jennifer said...

Glad to hear things are revving up for the birth of baby Lieb - I know you're going to do fine.

No worries about the Rh thing - it doesn't truely become something to fuss over until the 2nd baby - per all of my medical training. :o) God will watch over you and baby Lieb.

Leah said...

That was so informative! You're awesome, Jess.
btw, I have heard the same, that it will crop up with the second child.

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