What's The SD With Mothers, Babies, Delivering and RH Factor

OK I was watching Prisoner (Prisoner: Cell Block H), and Nora the most boring “Top Dog” of the Australian soap opera is pregnant. The prison doctor says she is RH- and because of this it’s vital to find the father of the baby so they can detemain if he’s RH+ otherwise her baby could die.

Nora got pregnant while on the run (when she escaped) so she doesn’t know who the father is or where to find him.

Now of course this is a convenient plot device to force Nora into revealing who helped her while she escaped and who it was, correct?

This took place in the mid 80s, so even if she refused to name the father, (later on we learn she could narrow it down), it still wouldn’t have presented a problem to modern medicine in 1984 or 1985 correct?

And I’m not sure but I was sort of under the impession that the mother being RH- and the father being RH+ was only an issue if the baby was RH+ and it was her first pregnancy. Is this so? (It was Nora’s first)

So what’s the SD on RH factor and mothers and delivering. How much of a danger is it today? And was it a real non-treatable danger in the past? If so how long ago?


Here’s a nice summary article: Research Rh Factor | World of Biology

Basically, it’s not a problem for the first pregnancy. But it can be for subsequent ones, as Rh negative mom will be sensitized from the first delivery of Rh positive baby to Rh factor, and may have antibodies circulating when she is carrying a 2nd Rh positive baby.

That causes erythroblastosis fetalis, a hemolytic disease of the fetus. And can result in stillbirths.

Nowadays (and for quite a few decades), a mom who is Rh negative but delivers up an Rh positive baby gets a dose of Anti-Rh antibodies within 72 hours of the delivery, to chew up any Rh positive RBCs circulating in her system from baby, preventing her from developing her own. If the dad is known to be Rh positive during the pregnancy, a dose can also be given at about 28 weeks gestation.

BTW, this has been treatable by using anti-Rh antibodies (Rhogam) since 1968.

Thanks for the link. Like most things on Prisoner: Cell Block H, it’s not horribly accurate.

But in the end it didn’t matter because the evil Lou (Louise) Kelly punched Nora in the stomach and she instantly lost the baby, as happens on TV shows :slight_smile:

What, she didn’t fall down the stairs?

Now this is a show about a bunch of women cons. So it’s much better to have them punched in the stomach.

Cool info about RH factor though. Just out of curiosity do you think this was a big reason states would require a blood test (in the old days) prior to issuing a marriage license?

That was almost always to check for syphilis.