Rh negative talk has become a hot topic at Birth Circle. Tonight marks the second meeting in a row where the routine treatment of RhoGAM for Rh negative mothers came up. Two months ago I hadn't met a woman who was questioning the protocol for being Rh negative and now I know four. FOUR women questioning a medical norm in two meetings, 4 weeks apart. I am excited for this group to start discussing their choices of treatment with me so I can pass on this wisdom to others out there. It seems like yet another support group in the making. Rh negative women should know they are not alone in questioning their treatment.
One thing that became clear is that Rh negative women do not feel they have enough information about the latest treatment, Rhophylac (and other preservative-free RhoGams: BayRho-D® Full-Dose; BayRho-D® Mini-Dose; MICRhoGAM®; RhoGAM®; Rhophylac®; WinRho SDF®). The traditional treatment of RhoGAM got lots of attention with its possible negative side effects to the baby so you can see why these women want answers.
I have to admit, I did not know much about this treatment because I am Rh positive and even if I were negative, I had my first baby at a teaching hospital in 2003. Perhaps they were already using a preservative free-RhoGAM and the controversy had calmed down?
Thimerosal, the preservative that is 49% Mercury, was removed from RhoGAM in 2001. Women in 2009 are hunting for studies and data to help them make hard decisions.
I have learned a few things that I think all Rh negative women should know:
1. If the father of the baby is Rh negative, you have virtually nothing to worry about. Care providers rarely ask what the father's blood type is.
2. If the baby is Rh negative, also nothing to fear. Women rarely hear about their chances of birthing an Rh negative baby.
3. Childbirth is designed to work. In a normal birth, baby's blood should not cross to the mother. The small risk of this happening is not discussed with women. Interventions increase the risk of baby's and mom's blood mixing so guess where most of these women are choosing to give birth....that's right, at home with midwives.
4. If the baby is Rh positive, you have a 72 hour window to give the mother the post-natal treatment. It isn't some sort of sudden panic at birth, you have three days to manage this situation.
What seems to be a common thread is more women questioning the traditional treatment at 28 weeks gestation. Women do not trust that the preservative-free RhoGAMs will not have some side effects to their babies or to their own bodies. These women want studies and they also want community. They want to see how other women proceed given different situations.
I would love to know what, if any, recent studies we have to cite for this topic. Please comment away if you have any perspective on this subject at all.