Ask Dr. Adebayo: Please is Rhogam Safe?

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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    • kehinde on October 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hello Doctor,

    I am pregnant and this is my second baby. when i had the first baby, i was given the anti D rhogam injection within 72 hours and was made to understand that the next dose would be after birth of another child. my worry now is where you mentioned that the injection is to be taken twice 28 weeks and within 72 hours after birth. i am above 29 weeks already and my mid-wife tells me i dont need to take it now until after birth. kindly clarify this as am in a confused state right now.

    thank you

    1. Hello Kehinde,

      Thank you for your question.

      Sorry for the confusion. In certain circumstances, a prophylactic antenatal dose of Rhogam is necessary at 28 weeks. This is however not needed in over 90% of cases. In Nigeria, the common management regime is simply to give Rhogam within 72 hours after delivery following confirmation of a Rhesus D positive baby to a Rhesus D negative mother. This management option is what your caregivers are exploring.

      I hope I have set your mind at rest? You can further discuss this with your attending physician.

      I wish you a safe delivery.

      Best Wishes,

      Dr Adebayo

    • akinmusire adeniyi on April 23, 2015 at 9:35 am

    pls doctor where can i get this rhogam injection here in lagos?

    1. Hi Adeniyi,
      I suggest you discuss this with your attending physician. He will be able to advice you appropriately bearing in mind your needs. All the best

    • Helen on January 12, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Well done Dr Adebayo
    Dr am o negative,I had abortion in the past without the rogam injection my fear now is that am few weeks gone

    1. Hi Helen. I understand your concerns. I guess you can hope that you didn’t get sensitived following the abortion or that this pregnancy is also O negative. Whatever is the case, please be totally upfront with your doctor so your pregnancy can be properly monitored. I wish you all the best

    • Azeez saidah on April 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Hello doctor am O negative I was told I don’t have to take the injection for my first baby but I can start taking for the second baby my first doctor told me it doesn’t affect first babies it mainly affect second is it true do I have to take is my first pregnancy am so confused abuja doctor are stressing me

    1. Dear Saidah,

      First, congratulations on your pregnancy.

      You do have to take the antirhesus injection with this first pregnancy if your baby is rhesus positive. It is critical you do so. This is to prevent sensitization and complications for the second and subsequent pregnancies.

      Please listen to your doctor and not what “people” say.

      All the best

    • Zik on May 25, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Good day Dr.

    My question is similar to Helen.
    What if i get sensitived during an earlier abortion and the new pregnancy is also O+poitive (while i am O-negative)

    Are there ways to still have a successful delivery?

    • Ricky Kinx on May 25, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Good day Dr.

    My question is similar to that of Helen.

    Say, if i get sensitived in the past without taking the Rhogam injection after an early abortion.

    Can i get pregnant and deliver safely? with me being O-Negative and baby being O+positive in both cases?

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