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Nov 23

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

4 comments

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  1. kehinde

    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. Dr Gbenga Adebayo

      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

  2. akinmusire adeniyi

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

    1. Dr Gbenga Adebayo

      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

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