Prof. Dr. Ali EKİZ

Prof. Dr. Ali EKİZ

Gynecology and Perinatology (Risky Pregnancy) Specialist

With over 15 years of professional experience, dozens of national and international research articles, and most importantly, his smiling face, Gynecology and Perinatology Specialist Prof. Dr. Ali EKİZ is with you.

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Blood Transfusion in the Womb

What is Blood Transplantation (Fetal Transfusion) in the Womb? Why and How?

blood transfusion in the womb; Transfusion (transfusion) of blood to a fetus while in the womb. This process is an important disease that can cause serious harm or even death to the baby, which usually occurs due to Rh incompatibility between the parents. With blood transfusion in the womb, this disease can be treated before the baby is born. In this article, we have compiled the answers to questions such as what is blood transfusion in the womb, why and how it is done.

Why is blood transfusion done in the womb?

Rh is a blood group just like A-B-0 blood groups. Rh incompatibility; It occurs when the mother is Rh negative and the baby is Rh positive. In this situation; Antibodies formed against the Rh antigen in the mother’s blood pass to the baby and begin to destroy the blood cells called erythrocytes in the baby’s blood, eventually causing anemia in the baby. In the womb, blood transfusion is done by giving Rh negative blood to the baby’s umbilical cord to treat this condition.

Why Does Blood Incompatibility Occur?

Blood groups are determined based on the presence of antigens such as ABO and Rh factor. If there is an incompatibility between the blood groups of the mother and the baby, a blood transfusion appropriate to the baby’s blood may be required in the womb. This condition can also occur in Rh incompatibility or sometimes other rare blood group incompatibility such as Kell subgroup incompatibility.

In addition, there are some infectious diseases, such as Pavovirus B 19, if these infections are transmitted to the baby, it can prevent the production of blood cells (erythrocyte) in the baby, causing the baby to become bloodless. In the womb, blood transfusion, that is, fetal transfusion, can also treat the baby in this case. It can save the baby’s life

When is a blood transfusion done in the womb?

Blood transfusion (fetal transfusion) in the womb can be done effectively after the 18th week. During the process; Under the guidance of ultrasound in the mother’s womb, the baby’s umbilical cord is inserted with a needle and the specially prepared 0 Rh negative blood is transfused into the baby’s cord. With this procedure, the blood volume of the baby is increased and it is repeated at 2-3 week intervals depending on the baby’s condition.

It should not be forgotten that; Blood transfusion in the womb is a procedure that requires a lot of experience and should be performed by an experienced perinatologist. This procedure is known as a treatment method used to improve the baby’s health or to prevent some serious complications. However, it may not be necessary in all cases. For this, the right decision can be made by considering the risks and benefits. For this reason, in cases requiring blood transfusion in the womb, a detailed evaluation is made by perinatology specialists and the most appropriate treatment option is determined.

In which cases is blood transfusion done in the womb?

We can list the situations that require blood transfusion in the womb as follows:

• Rh Incompatibility: If the mother is Rh negative, the father is Rh positive, and there have been complications due to Rh incompatibility in previous pregnancies, a blood transfusion may be required in the womb. In this case, Rh-negative blood transfusion compatible with the blood of the fetus is performed in the womb.

• ABO Incompatibility: ABO blood group incompatibility between the mother and father does not cause severe anemia in the womb, that is, anemia, and does not require blood transfusion.

• Other Rare Blood Group Incompatibilities: In cases of incompatibility arising from rare blood groups, blood transfusion may be required in the womb. For example; Kell subgroup incompatibility or blood group incompatibility caused by other rare antigens can be given as examples.

• Other reasons: Fetal transfusion provides effective treatment in cases such as some infectious diseases such as Parvovirus B 19, blood stealing in identical twins such as TTTS, and anemia due to fetal bleeding during fetal surgeries. This saves the life of the baby.

How Does Blood Incompatibility Affect the Baby?

In cases of blood incompatibility, the antibodies produced by the mother against the baby cause the baby’s red blood cells to be destroyed. This situation, especially anemia; stillbirth, jaundice, brain damage due to bilirubin accumulation, deafness or death. In addition, the anemia of the baby increases day by day. This can cause the baby’s body to collect water and cause edema. This collection of water is called hydrops fetalis. This table is the last step before the loss of the baby.

What Precautions Can Be Taken for Blood Incompatibility During Pregnancy?

At the beginning of the measures that can be taken for blood incompatibility during pregnancy, the expectant mother should know her blood group. If the expectant mother does not have certain information about her own blood group, she should definitely have a blood test done in order to detect the blood group.

When it comes to blood incompatibility, if the pregnancy is the first, there is a high probability that there will be no problems. If it is a second or subsequent pregnancy, the risk is higher.

The state of being affected by the blood incompatibility of the expectant mother is determined by a test called IDC (indirect Coombs test).

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