Antibody Screening Among Routine Pregnancy Tests

Antibody Screening Among Routine Pregnancy TestsAntibody Screening Among Routine Pregnancy Tests

Red blood cell antibody screening has been added to the routine antenatal tests and will be performed by medical centers in 10 medical universities.

According to Majid Mokhtari, deputy for reference laboratories at Iran Blood Transfusion Organization, laboratory experts will be trained about the antibody screen and diagnostic test panels in a three-day workshop in September at the IBTO headquarters.

“The workshop will be held in September for 80 laboratory experts,” he said, IRNA reported.  

Participants will be given a certificate and will perform the test in laboratories and report positive cases to specialized serology labs at the IBTO.

The purpose of the plan is to minimize pregnancy risks and speed up the process of preparing and transfusing compatible blood types.

Blood typing is usually done during the first trimester or the first prenatal visit. It is especially important during pregnancy because a mother and her fetus may have incompatible blood types.

If the blood types of mother and baby vary, the mother may produce antibodies that react with antigens (proteins or factors) on the fetus’ red blood cells. The antibodies may cross the placenta and cause destruction of the baby’s red blood cells, resulting in a serious condition referred to as hemolytic disease of the newborn.

Although the first Rh-positive baby is unlikely to become ill, the antibodies produced during the first pregnancy may affect subsequent Rh-positive babies.

To greatly reduce the likelihood that an Rh-negative mother will develop this antibody, she may be treated with an injection of Rh immune globulin that binds to and masks the fetus’s Rh antigen and prevents the mother from developing antibodies against the Rh antigen.

However, in addition to Rh-negative women who have had an Rh-positive baby, any woman who has had a blood transfusion or had prior pregnancies may produce an antibody to blood factors other than Rh that can potentially harm an unborn baby.

An antibody screen determines if potentially harmful antibodies are present in the mother’s blood. If a harmful antibody is detected, the healthcare practitioner will likely monitor the mother’s antibody level and the health of the fetus for the duration of the pregnancy. Signs that the fetus is becoming ill may necessitate treatment before birth (such as an intrauterine transfusion) or an early delivery.


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