Early Abortion: What if I have a negative blood type?
Early Abortion: Understanding your Rh Factor
When you decide to go to an abortion clinic or a doctor's office to end an early pregnancy, it is likely that they will take blood test to evaluate your blood type. Some may even ask you if you know this information when you make your appointment. A lot of women ask why this information is required. This article will help you to understand why knowing your blood type in pregnancy is important, and how to understand whether you will need medication if you choose to get an early abortion.
Do you know:
- More than 85% of people are Rh positive
- The Rh factor does not affect a person's general health
- Problems can occur during pregnancy when a pregnancy carries the Rh factor and the pregnant woman does not. However, this can be prevented in most cases with medication (Rhogam)
Being Rh- is not a good or a bad thing. However, it can be potentially dangerous and become a serious issue if you are a woman with an Rh negative blood type and are pregnant by a partner who is Rh positive. It is important to know your blood type or to have it tested early in pregnancy so you will know if you need the medication. This can be determined by your doctor using a simple blood test.
Women who carry a negative Rh factor, and choose to terminate a pregnancy, will sometimes require the additional Rhogam medication to prevent the build-up of antibodies in her blood, causing an immunological condition known as Rhesus disease. Rhogam is given in the form of an injection. If you terminate a pregnancy at Early Options, we can give this medication to you at the time of your visit. With the Aspiration Procedure, we are able to inject Rhogam into the cervix while it is still numb. Most patients will not feel it at all. With the Abortion Pill, the injection can be given either during your first visit or at your mandatory follow-up appointment.
Not all women who have an Rh negative blood type will require the medication. Before deciding whether the injection is necessary, the doctor will perform an ultrasound. When the gestation of the pregnancy is under 7 weeks this injection is not required. However, Rhogam is still available at that time to those who would like to receive it. In pregnancies that measure over 7 weeks, it is recommended that the patient receive the medication, and it is available at Early Options at no additional charge to the patient.
What are the risks if I choose not to have the injection?
The risks of sensitization (the build-up of antibodies) are as follows:
In pregnancies less than 7 weeks, the risk is less than 1%
In pregnancies from 7-12 weeks, the risk is 1%
If sensitized, there is a potential risk to future pregnancies. Some of these risks include jaundice, anemia, brain damage, heart failure, death or stillbirth. This condition, known as hemolytic disease of the newborn (or HDN), can be fatal in the most severe cases. It does not affect a woman’s health. The Rhogam injection will be required after every pregnancy that an Rh negative woman experiences.
At Early Options, we perform blood work on each of our patients to determine their need for this injection. We can discuss with you your need for the Rhogam injection and help you make the right decision. We feel that it is important for women to be educated and informed on their medical needs. Take the time to speak to your doctor about this if you have a negative blood type.