Health Magazine

Ask Dr. Adebayo: Please is Rhogam Safe?

By Dr Gbenga Adebayo @dradebayo

Hi Doc,

In the course of my research on RH negative patients particulaly women, i found out that during pregnacy there is the danger of the mother’s body producing anti-bodies that automatically fights the baby’s cells thus resulting in abortion or death of foetus on delivery. however, i found out that with the introduction of Rhogam injection which can be applied twice; at 28 weeks and with in 72 hours after delivery this can be prevented.

So my question is: is it advicable to take the injection after 28 weeks? is it safe for the baby if taken? and what are the possible side effects? Thank you.

F from Lagos

Dear F,

The use of Rhogam as you rightly pointed out is to prevent the development of blood-cell-destroying antibodies in a Rhesus D Positive baby born to a Rhesus D negative mother. This destruction of red blood cells will occur in the baby of a previously sensitized woman (i.e. a woman who is Rhesus D negative and has been previously exposed to Rhesus D positive bloods cells either from a previous delivery or abortion). Rhogam is used to prevent this sensitization.

So to answer your questions:

  • Yes the injection is taken around 28-29weeks together with within 72 hours following delivery of a Rhesus D positive baby.
  • Rhogam has been in use for over 40 years and has not been show to be harmful to babies.
  • Major side effects are rare and are usually due to an allergic reaction to the drug. These serious side effects include:
    • fever, chills, or shaking;
    • urinating less than normal;
    • a change in color of  urine;
    • body swellings: lips, eyelids, hands, feet, or ankles;
    • shortness of breath.

    Less serious side effects may include:

    • muscle aches or pains;
    • headache;
    • feeling tired or light-headed;
    • nausea, vomiting; or
    • pain or tenderness where the injection is given

Wish you a safe delivery.

Dr Adebayo

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