Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Healthy Habits: RhoGAM

 Note: I had to have RhoGAM shots myself, as I am O- and my kids were O+.

It's your first pregnancy, and your physician has just informed you you’ll need to be given a shot of “RhoGAM.” What is RhoGAM, and why might pregnant mothers need it?


Dr. Alan Lindemann is an obstetrician from North Dakota nicknamed the “Rural Doc.” With over 40 years of experience and 6000 babies delivered, Dr. Lindemann shares the following about Rh factor, Rh sensitization, and why your physician may want you to take RhoGAM during your pregnancy:


1) What is Rh factor? “Our blood has a type (A, B, AB, O), and a Rhesus factor (positive or negative). The Rhesus (Rh) factor is the name of a protein on red blood cells which carries oxygen from the lungs and delivers it to the body cells. If your red blood cells have the Rhesus factor you are considered Rh positive. If your red blood cells don't have the Rhesus factor you are considered Rh negative.


2) What Does Your Rh Factor Mean for Your Pregnancy? If mom is Rh negative and dad is Rh positive, their baby will likely be Rh positive. If the baby's Rh-positive blood leaks and co-mingles with the mother’s Rh-negative blood, such as during delivery, the mother’s body will make permanent antibodies against the baby's “foreign” Rh-positive cells. This is called Rh sensitization.


3) What Are the Risks of RH Sensitization?

  • First Child: Rh sensitization affecting one's first child is very unlikely, because blood leakage is not common during gestation and antibodies take time to develop.
  • Subsequent Children: Once the mother creates antibodies against her first baby, her antibodies will cross through the placenta and into each of her subsequent babies. This will destroy the baby’s Rh-positive hemoglobin faster than their growing body can recreate it. This causes severe risk for the baby, such as anemia, jaundice, being small for their gestational age, or being born preterm or even stillborn. This is called Rh disease, and a NICU stay should be expected for children that live. The amount of antibodies in the mother’s body only increases with each pregnancy, and pose more and more serious risks for subsequent pregnancies.

4) What Is RhoGAM, and How Does It Work? Developed in the 1960s, RhoGAM is a medication used to prevent Rh sensitization and antibody creation in Rh-negative mothers. RhoGAM is made of passive, short-term antibodies for Rh-positive blood, tricking the mother’s body into thinking that she already has antibodies and therefore doesn't need to make any more.


5) When and Where Is RhoGAM Usually Administered? Rh factor is checked in mothers at the first prenatal visit, and all Rh-negative mothers are given RhoGAM. Many physicians give RhoGAM to Rh-negative mothers three times: at 27 weeks, 33 weeks, and when the Rh-positive baby is born. RhoGAM is also given at the time of miscarriage because just a small amount of blood is all that it takes to sensitize an Rh-negative mother. The shot can be given anywhere, but it generally would be given in the arm and sometimes the buttock or thigh.


For more information, visit and


About Dr. Lindemann:

An obstetrician and maternal mortality expert, “Rural Doc” Alan Lindemann, M.D. teaches women and their families how to create the outcomes they want for their own personal health and pregnancy. A former Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Dakota, he is currently a clinical faculty member available to serve as preceptor with medical students in rural rotations. In his nearly 40 years of practice, he has delivered around 6,000 babies and achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero! Learn more at and

No comments:

Post a Comment