Who Gets the Test?
All women get antibody testing. It's an important way of ruling out potential problems when you're pregnant.
What the Test Does
The test looks for substances called antibodies in your blood that could conflict with antigens in your babies' blood. The best known antigen is Rh factor. If your babies have antigens (Rh factor) that you do not have, your immune system may create antibodies to attack the red blood cells of your babies. This could cause anemia in your babies and other problems.
Fortunately, after your test results come back, treatment can help prevent problems, if needed. For example, if you are Rh negative, but your babies are Rh positive, doctors can give you an injection that stops your body from making Rh antibodies during your pregnancy. If you already have antibodies, your babies may need a blood transfusion after delivery, or while still in your womb.
How the Test Is Done
The antibody test is a simple blood test. It won't harm you or your babies.
What to Know About Test Results
If you have antibodies that could harm your babies, your doctor will watch for problems. You'll need regular testing. If your babies seem to be having severe problems, your doctor may suggest a blood transfusion for your babies while still in the womb. If you test negative for antibodies -- and aren't at risk for developing them during pregnancy -- you don't need to worry.
How Often the Test Is Done During Pregnancy
Most women get antibody testing once during their first prenatal visit. Women at risk of developing antibodies -- such as women who are Rh-negative -- will need additional tests.
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