3 years ago I gave birth to my first child. During that pregnancy I developed RH antibodies. Fortunately he was not affected, but now we are wanting to have a 2nd child and have been warned about all the horrible things that can happen in this pregnancy.
My question is that I am wanting to do everything possible BEFORE I get pregnant and while I am pregnant to minimize the damage that the baby could have. There is not a lot of information out there to help people in this situation, mostly because the problem is not as common since the invention of Rhogam.
I have researched this topic greatly and know that the common treatment plan is IUT’s if the baby is severely affected, exchange transfusions after the baby is born, phototherapy lights, early delivery, etc. I want to avoid blood transfusions. Do you have any advice for more natural ways i could help with this problem?
I think this is one of the toughest questions I’ve gotten because it’s a hard situation. I don’t know of anything you can do to reduce antibody levels – the only 100% solution would be preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for an Rh- baby… and to get this your husband should be tested to see if he can lend the Rh- gene (allele). If he’s got an Rh+ and an Rh- that would be possible, and PGD could select only Rh- embryos. However, PGD is expensive and it’s not an ethically viable choice for many families.
I would certainly recommend that you have care with a perinatologist – but you could also have dual care with a midwife or your own OB if you want.
Before pregnancy the best thing would be to focus on excellent nutrition. I think this is also best during pregnancy. You want to build up a strong blood supply in your baby and have the most nourishing uterine environment. Moondragon has more guidelines on her site – these are meant for before sensitization or for moms avoiding Rhogam, but they could be helpfu to you: Rh negative guidelines at Moondragon’s.
Another option may be to look into gentle cleansing and liver/blood supporting herbs like dandelion, milk thistle, and nettles.
Since you’ve done extensive research you probably know more than me – the information is just mind boggling. I’ve seen several reports of women having a full-term or close to full-term pregnancies, but there is constant monitoring and very frequent doctor visits. There are also a few stories within the birth story collection of mothers who have good natural births going a little early and even a few inductions – so that could be very possible (and many good hospital birth stories).
The best resource I came across is a board for antibody isoimmunised women going through pregnancies – you’ve probably found it, but if not, here is the link: Antibody Isoimmunisation Group. The featured post has many links to research and sites to read through.
I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. It’s hard to think about having another baby when there’s a good possibility of complications. Hemolytic disease is usually not fatal to babies now with so much research and improved care – but as you said there are heavy interventions which possibly include risky procedures like IUT. Best of luck as you weigh your options and do more research.