Rh incompatibility was a serious problem; newborns diagnosed with Rh disease often became seriously ill or died. Since the 1960s, scientific breakthroughs have made it possible to prevent Rh disease and treat Rh incompatibility.
A Doppler ultrasound is more accurate than amniocentesis in detecting the severe anemia associated with Rh disease, according to a 2006 study. If your fetus shows signs of Rh disease, he or she can receive blood transfusions while still in the womb. Your doctor will talk with you about other treatment options, including early delivery. An Rh-positive infant will most likely need special care at birth.
The best way to treat Rh disease is to prevent it completely. If you're Rh negative and you're carrying an Rh positive baby, your doctor can lower the risk of future trouble by giving you a shot of a blood product called Rh immune globulin (RhIg) within 72 hours of delivery. This injection will clear any Rh proteins that reach your body before your immune system has a chance to mount an attack. This treatment is effective in more than 95 percent of Rh-negative women.
As an extra precaution, your doctor will probably recommend an RhIg injection around the 28th week of pregnancy. (This can prevent rare cases where a woman starts producing Rh antibodies months before delivery.) This drug is considered safe for pregnant women. The only known side effects are soreness at the injection site or a slight fever. There is no risk of HIV transmission through this purified blood product.
If you are Rh negative and you experience miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, bleeding during pregnancy, or have an abortion, you should also receive RhIg. This treatment is also recommended after certain prenatal tests, including amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Repeat injections are necessary with future pregnancies, as the medication appears to offer protection for only about three months.
For more information: http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/pregnancy-33/pregnancy-news-543/rh-factor-and-pregnancy-643868.html