Q. I'm approximately eight weeks pregnant and have just about finished bleeding for the past five days. I'm Rh negative and had the shots with my two previous pregnancies 10 years ago. I read on two different web sites that if bleeding and Rh negative, you must have the shot within 3-4 days. The shots are not particularly easy to access. I asked about needing the shot since bleeding, and the doctors said they didn't think I needed it until about 28 weeks. Do I need it now? Am I too late?
A. If you are Rh negative and the father of your baby is Rh positive, you might be at risk for developing Rh incompatibility problems. In a first pregnancy this problem doesn't become an issue until delivery, abortion or miscarriage when the baby's blood may enter the mother's circulatory system. Mixing of Rh negative and Rh positive blood will make the mother's body develop antibodies against the different Rh factor. These antibodies could seriously affect a future Rh incompatible pregnancy without treatment. Only very rarely does the Rh factor become an issue during a first pregnancy. This can only happen if fetal blood leaks backwards, through the placenta, into the mother's circulatory system. Again, that is very rare.
Since your bleeding has just about ceased, you are probably not a candidate for miscarriage and intermingling of fetal blood. I wouldn't worry. If you do have bleeding again during the pregnancy, you should insist on having the shot, just in case.