You can often hear that if a husband and wife have different blood types, and in addition, different Rh factors, then this can be a source of serious complications during childbirth and danger for both the woman and the unborn child.

Rh factor and Rh conflict

In fact, everything is far from being so simple. And to understand what the essence of this problem is, it is necessary to turn to genetics.

It is known that during conception, the fusion of female and male germ cells – the egg and sperm. Each of them carries 23 pairs of chromosomes, consisting of genes (units of hereditary information) responsible for a certain trait (eye color, ear shape, hair growth, etc.), including the Rh factor. The nature is so arranged that some genes are stronger (dominant, suppressive), while others responsible for the same trait are weaker (recessive, suppressed). When germ cells merge during fertilization, two genes responsible for the same trait converge, and the stronger gene “wins”, and therefore the features of the dominant gene appear in the offspring.

Rh factor and Rh conflict

Experts note that the gene responsible for the presence of the Rh factor (“Rh positive gene”, Rh +) is dominant, and the gene responsible for its absence (“Rh negative”, Rh–) is recessive. With a combination of two Rh + genes, a person will be born Rh-positive, with a combination of Rh- genes and Rh + genes – Rh-positive, and only with a combination of two recessive genes (Rh-) – Rh-negative.

Scientists also note the fact that during the fusion of germ cells, the probability of the appearance of offspring of Rh- is much less than Rh +. Therefore, Rh-negative people are much less common – about 15%.

Rh factor and Rh conflict

When does the Rhesus conflict occur, which should be feared? Margarita Anshina, a specialist in reconstructive endocrinology, Ph.D. In this case, immunity is developed persistent, for life. If a Rh-negative person is re-transfused with Rh-positive blood, his body will instantly respond with a powerful reaction – intensive production of antibodies to the Rh factor, a Rh conflict will develop, which can have the most serious consequences – up to death.

When an Rh-negative woman is pregnant for the first time with an Rh-positive child, her body is gradually immunized, and with repeated pregnancies, her body responds with an immune attack on the fetus. In these cases, complications are indeed possible: miscarriage, the birth of a child with severe jaundice, and the like.

Rh factor and Rh conflict

It is important to understand that the Rh factor and the Rh conflict are not the same thing, as many of us often think. We note the cases when a Rhesus conflict is possible:

  • with repeated transfusion of Rh-positive blood to an Rh-negative person;
  • with a second pregnancy in a Rh-negative woman from a Rh-positive man, regardless of how the first pregnancy ended – abortion, miscarriage or the birth of a Rh-positive child;
  • during the first pregnancy of an Rh-negative woman from an Rh-positive man, if she had previously had a transfusion of Rh-positive blood.

Rhesus conflict is impossible in the following cases:

  • when transfusing blood to Rh-positive people;
  • during pregnancy in a Rh-positive woman, no matter what Rh her husband has;
  • during pregnancy in an Rh-negative woman from an Rh-negative man and the absence of a transfusion of Rh-negative blood to her in the past.