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Ask Doctor Joan: Rhogam after early abortion


Questioner: Amber
Subject: Abortion/Rhogam miscarriage, early abortion
Date Asked: 2009-10-16 02:42:20
Date Answered: 2009-10-17 01:44:06 on

About two years ago I had an abortion.  I already had three children and I got pregnant right away.  We decided to abort that 4th baby.  I know for sure I received the rhogam shot w/ my first three pregnancies.  I know I did not receive the shot with my abortion.  It never crossed my mind that I did not get the shot.  I recently became pregnant and lost the baby at 10 weeks.  I just have a feeling the reason I lost the baby was because I did not receive the rhogam after the abortion.  Could this be?  Also, we really want to have another baby but since I did not get the rhogam shot after the abortion can i now always lose the babies?  I am ashamed and do not want to ask my Dr.  Please HELP!

Dear Amber,
I’m sorry you’ve been feeling so badly about your decision and your medical care.  It is highly unlikely that the miscarriage was caused by antibodies from your previous pregnancy.  It is unknown when rhogam needs to be given in early pregnancy where there is either a miscarriage or an induced abortion.  In most countries, rhogam is not given unless you are over 12 weeks pregnant when the pregnancy ends.  In this country, where we are more driven by pharmaceutical influences, we give it at any time, even though research shows it is unnecessary. So, unless you were over 12 weeks when you ended the pregnancy, there is virtually no risk of antibody-related pregnancy problems.

There is a simple blood test that was most likely drawn while you were pregnant.  It would show the presence of antibodies.  It is a routine test that is done during prenatal care – so if you saw a doctor for the pregnancy that miscarried, that information should be available.  If it is negative, there is absolutely no risk for future pregnancies.  If you are embarassed to tell the doctor about the abortion, you can simply say that you miscarried a pregnancy, and have now realized that you never received rhogam.  They don’t need to know the details of your decisions.  They will either be able to check your test results, or draw the appropriate test to ease your mind.

I hope this is helpful,
Doctor Joan