Rhesus Blood Grouping Explained
Your Pregnancy|June/July 2021
OUR EXPERT
Dr Peter Koll

Q Please can you explain the Rhesus factor to me. I am expecting my second child, and I’ve heard it can be an issue this time around. Will I be tested as routine, or do I have to ask specifically? And how will the doctor know what my husband’s status is, or doesn’t that matter? I find the whole thing quite confusing.

A DR KOLL ANSWERS: The Rhesus antigen is one of many in our blood.

The other well-known antigens are the A and B antigens. We inherit these antigens from our parents. If you inherited the A antigen from one of your parents, your blood group will be A. Similarly, if you inherited a B antigen, you will be group B. If you inherited both A and B, you will be group AB, and if you inherited neither A nor B, your blood group will be Group O.

The Rhesus antigen is known as big D. If you inherited a D antigen from either one or from both your parents, you will be Rhesus positive. If you did not inherit the D antigen from either of your parents, you will be Rhesus negative.

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