Antibody Testing (Twins)

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.

Tests Similar to This One

Rh Factor

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 25, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "The Rh Factor: How It Can Affect Your Pregnancy."

UptoDate: Significance of minor red blood cell antibodies during pregnancy.

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Pregnancy & Parenting Tips In Your Inbox

Doctor-approved information to keep you and your family healthy and happy.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.