Dr Anuj Chaturvedi, medical director and GP at HealthClic, answers your question on blood groups
Pregnant women are always given a blood group test. Essentially, there are four main blood types – A, B, AB and O. However, each can either be RhD positive or RhD negative, which means there are eight main blood groups in total. Mixing blood groups can be life-threatening, so you will always receive blood from the same blood group in hospital.
In blood group A, for example, there are anti-B antibodies in the plasma, which would attack the cells in blood group B. While more than eight in 10 people in the UK are RhD positive, if a mother is RhD negative but the child inherits an RhD positive blood group from the father, it could cause complications if not treated in a timely manner.
It is important to identify at-risk pregnancies early on, so women are usually screened during early pregnancy and again at 28 weeks, regardless of RhD status. If a woman is RhD negative, then there’s a few considerations, such as partner testing, and potential steps that will need to be taken. Anti-D prophylaxis may be administered – which can actually be given to an RhD negative mother following birth to protect future pregnancies, too. Depending on your initial screening results, you may be referred to a specialist clinic for further investigation and detailed antenatal management.
It is best to have a clear plan in place for your pregnancy – from the planning stages through to labour and beyond – as each individual will have a completely different circumstance. But there’s no need to worry, if your tests are organised by an experienced professional you will be able to enjoy all the best bits of the next nine months and relax!