Rhesus disease is a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells. It’s also known as haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN). Rhesus disease doesn’t harm the mother, but it can cause the baby to become anaemic and develop jaundice. Rhesus disease only happens when the mother has rhesus negative blood (RhD negative) and the baby in her womb has rhesus positive blood (RhD positive). The mother must have also been previously sensitised to RhD positive blood.
Sensitisation happens when a woman with RhD negative blood is exposed to RhD positive blood, usually during a previous pregnancy with an RhD positive baby. The woman’s body responds to the RhD positive blood by producing antibodies that recognise the foreign blood cells and destroy them.
Check out this link (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rhesus-disease/ ) to learn more about the signs of rhesus disease in a baby, the causes of rhesus disease, preventing rhesus disease and treating rhesus disease.