April 8th, 2009
I have type O negative blood. I really gave this little thought up until yesterday when my mother and I started talking about blood type. I told her I was O negative and she remembered something about the negative Rh factor. My eyes glazed over. Rh? Huh? Antigens who? Uncle what?
So last night I started digging around on google (I KNOW!) and discovered all sorts of weird stuff about my O negative blood type and how seemingly incompatible and uppity it is.
Here’s the breakdown of ABO and Rh blood type by nation.
And here’s a laymen’s understanding of my blood type:
- I am a universal donor. Anyone can use my blood but I can’t use any other blood type except for my own.
- I’m recessive. (Yeah, yeah. I get that a lot.)
- Two O positive blood carriers can have O negative offspring. (My brothers and I are proof of this.)
- O negative blood carriers cannot take any other blood type because they lack the antigens involved and will therefore fight with it. Or something. (Someone smart needs to mom it down for me.)
Can two O negatives make an O positive? Is that even impossible? Also, are all the negatives eventually going to die off? It appears that way, right? Were there more at one point in time? I need a crash course on blood types. I’m so intrigued.
But I digress. As I was searching and reading and learning about Rh factors and whatnot, I discovered a corner of the Internet dedicated to second and third pregnancies and O negative blood types. Here’s where things get a little wacky. If an O negative woman has a baby with an O positive man, and the baby is O positive, the woman can develop a problem. And since positive blood types are the dominant ones, there’s a good chance the baby will end up positive. A first pregnancy is usually not a problem because the woman most likely hasn’t come into contact with the antigen before. However, during birth, blood types often mingle, causing the O negative carrier to come in contact with the O positive blood type. The O negative person starts to fight said blood type—treat it as a problem, a foreign body. So, any future pregnancies can result in big problems.
The hell is that about? And why didn’t anyone tell me?
Naturally, I’m prematurely freaking out here and my husband is ready to cancel our Internet access. We don’t yet know Toby’s blood type because we weren’t required to have one before we were married. And I am not yet sure of Em’s blood type either. Maybe we’re super rare and all of us are negative? But I’m not holding my breath on that one. (Emory is O positive.)
And I’m assuming my doctors had this in mind throughout my pregnancy and the moment Em was born. (Apparently there are shots mothers are given if the blood is mixed so they don’t develop these antibiotics. Look at me try and pretend I have the slightest idea what it is I’m talking about here.) At least I hope they knew about this. They are incredible, after all.
One thing is for sure, someone should take away my Internet connection.
Edited to add: I feel like such a moron. I’m actually O positive. I just called my doctor to find out why they didn’t give me this shot, ready to lose my mind about it, and she proceeds to tell me that I’m actually O positive. (My brothers, however, are negative.) I feel like the biggest O positive idiot ever.Tags: health, pregnancy