Blood Type Incompatibility or Jaundice

Blood types are categorized by A, B, and O, and given an Rh factor of positive or negative. A-B-0 and Rh incompatibility happens when a mother’s blood type conflicts with that of her newborn child. It is possible for a mother’s red blood cells to cross into the placenta or fetus during pregnancy. When this occurs, the mother’s blood cells develop antibodies that can attack the newborn’s blood cells and cause jaundice. The risk of this is highest near or during delivery.

A-B-O incompatibility occurs when:

  • the mother is type O and the baby is B, A, or AB
  • the mother is type A and their baby is B or AB
  • the mother is type B and their baby is A or AB

Rh incompatibility occurs when a mother has Rh-negative blood and the baby has Rh-positive blood. The mother’s body will produce an auto-immune response that attacks the fetus or newborn’s blood cells as if they were a bacterial or viral invader. This immune response is fairly slow to develop and is rarely a serious issue in first pregnancies. However, subsequent pregnancies with an Rh incompatibility are a significantly higher risk.

Blood type incompatibility can be prevented with a blood test early in pregnancy. If an Rh incompatibility is found, an Rh-immune globulin treatment is administered about 28 weeks into the pregnancy. If the incompatibility is not detected, the newborn can develop severe jaundice leading to brain damage. While it can have serious consequences, jaundice in newborns is common and treatable; medical attention is necessary at the first sign of yellowish discoloration in the skin or eyes.

Rh and ABO incompatibility in the infant results in jaundice, which is treated through hydration and phototherapy. Biliblankets and other phototherapy equipment help the infant’s body expel bilirubin, the cause of jaundice.

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Cerebral Palsy Risk Factors

There are ten common risk factors. To learn more about them, click one of the following:

The presence of one or more risk factors does not ensure a child will develop cerebral palsy; it means chances are higher than if that risk factor was not present. Likewise, the absence of risk factors does not ensure that a child will not develop cerebral palsy. Risk factors merely identify possible cause for concern. Avoiding risk factors will help prevent a child from developing cerebral palsy; any exposure to risk factors prior to conception and during pregnancy should be discussed with a doctor in order to effectively treat and manage risk. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive; other risk factors may contribute to the development of cerebral palsy, as well.