Pregnancy / Childbirth

Serological conflict - when blood mismatch becomes a problem


A serological conflict is an abnormality that only occurs during pregnancy. It is called maternal-fetal conflict. Refers to the situation when the blood group of mother and child remains in a disadvantageous arrangement. However, women with the Rh- group do not have to worry, the current development of medicine meant that they give birth to healthy and strong children. This should not, however, put you to sleep. As recommended by your doctor, it is advisable to do a blood test at the beginning of your pregnancy to assess the risk of a serological conflict. What else should be remembered?

When does the serological conflict occur?

A serological conflict can occur when a woman has the Rh- blood group and a male Rh +. Antigens that can trigger an immune response, i.e. the production of antibodies that directly hit a developing baby, become a problem. This is because a mother with Rh-blood carries under her heart a child who has inherited her father's blood - Rh +, and her body receives the developing fetus as a threat.

It is estimated that every fourth pair has this type of problem. However, not every case develops a serological conflict. This happens every tenth pregnancy.

However, it should be clearly emphasized that serological conflict may also occur in Rh + women, which is why doctors, when there is an indication, recommend performing the so-called Coombs test. In addition, conflict between other blood groups is very rare (but still). There are also other types of conflict, such as platelet conflict (affects one in 1.5 thousand pairs).

Already after this short performance, one can realize that the topic is so complex and delicate that one cannot rely on the stereotype that only a woman with the Rh- group is exposed to a serological conflict. Serological conflict may occur in any future mother.

Can serological conflict be prevented?

Every expectant mother should do a blood group and RH test. Even the one who thinks she is not exposed to it. It is very important to do this in the first weeks of pregnancy, and to have the result with you when visiting a gynecologist.

When the results of the tests indicate a risk of serological conflict, pregnancy must be monitored in a special way. It is advisable to repeat the tests to see if the woman's body is making antibodies. In addition, the expectant mother should have ultrasound examinations that will allow to determine if hemolytic disease is developing, during the examination it is also possible to assess the degree of blood flow in the artery of the child's brain. If the flow is high, there is a risk of anemia.

If there are complications due to serological conflict (which is a rare situation), most problems can be treated in the mother's stomach. Most often, the umbilical cord is transfused with Rh- blood, which means that the mother's blood does not respond negatively to the developing fetus. There is no fear that the child's blood group will change permanently, but rather "reduce the problem arising from different blood groups".

After giving birth to a child with Rh- blood group, after miscarriage, or after collecting amniotic fluid, the baby's mother is given anti-D immunoglobulin, which is designed to neutralize fetal cells in the mother's blood and prevent the formation of antibodies.

When is the serological conflict revealed?

Statistics show that serological conflict usually manifests at 16 weeks of pregnancy. On the other hand, practice shows that if antibodies do not show up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, they will most likely not appear again.

Serological conflict and first pregnancy

There is usually no serological conflict in the first pregnancy. Usually, the body will not be able to produce antibodies that are harmful to the child.

However, it should be remembered that nowadays serological conflict in subsequent pregnancies is not a problem. Complications are extremely rare. However, one should take into account that the child may suffer from anemia and jaundice after delivery.