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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Anti-E antibodies

Hi,

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and just been to the midwife who told me my blood test results were good, but they found traces of anti-e in it. As I'm rhesus negative I just wondered what that meant and if it gets any worse in my next blood test what that might mean for me and the baby.

Tracey

Dear Tracey,

Rh disease can occur if the mother is Rh negative and the baby is Rh positive. The mother can make antibodies against the baby's blood cells. These antibodies can cross the placenta and destroy the baby's blood cells making the baby very sick. There are many different Rh antibodies, but when we speak of Rh negative, we are referring the the D antibodies (most of the antibodies are named by letter).

A much less common form of Rh disease can be caused by E antibodies. That is a possibility in your case. Typically, though, the level of antibodies remains stable throughout the pregnancy, and there is no problem. Occasionally, the antibody level begins to rise indicating that it is possible that the baby is affected. In that case, the baby would be monitored with regular ultrasounds to be sure that he or she is still doing well. In the rare case that the baby develops anti-E Rh disease, it can be treated with a transfusion while it is still inside the uterus.

Sincerely,
Amy

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