Skip to main content

Rh Disease

RH DISEASE

Rhesus disease (or Rh disease) is caused when Rh-positive red blood cells from a fetus enter the maternal circulation of an Rh-negative woman. This usually happens at the time of delivery, but it can occur at other times during pregnancy, such as spontaneous miscarriage or abortion. These cells are recognized as foreign to the mother's immune system, and antibodies are formed to destroy them. In the next pregnancy, these antibodies can cross the placenta and cause anemia (low blood count) in the developing fetus. Rhesus-immune globulin is administered routinely at seven months in pregnancy and after delivery in Rh-negative women. Although 99 percent effective in preventing Rh disease, reports from the 1990s indicate that 1 to 6 infants per 1,000 live births have evidence of the effects of Rh disease. Pregnant women with an antibody concentration of greater than 1:16 are monitored with serial ultra-sounds and amniocenteses to measure possible destruction of fetal blood. In some cases, the fetus can be given red blood cells while still in the womb; this is done through an intrauterine transfusion.

See also:INFANT MORTALITY; PREMATURE INFANTS; PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT

Bibliography

Chavez, Gilberto, Joseph Mulinare, and Larry Edmonds. "Epidemiology of Rh Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn in the United States." Journal of the American Medical Association 265 (1991):3270-3274.

"Prevention of Rh D Alloimmunization." American College of Obsetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin 4 (1999).

Ventura, Stephanie, Joyce Martin, Sally Curtin, and T. J. Mathews."Births: Final Data for 1997." National Vital Statistics Reports 47 (1999):1-96.

Kenneth J.MoiseJr.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rh Disease." Child Development. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rh Disease." Child Development. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/rh-disease

"Rh Disease." Child Development. . Retrieved September 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/rh-disease

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.