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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Erythroblastosis fetalis is also called hemolytic disease of the newborn. Babies get this condition before they are born. Erythroblastosis fetalis occurs when you and your baby have different blood types. When your baby's blood mixes with your blood during pregnancy, your immune system reacts by making antibodies against it. Antibodies are a part of the body's immune system that fight germs and substances that do not belong in the body. These antibodies can cross over to your baby through the placenta. They enter your baby's blood and attack your baby's red blood cells (RBCs), causing them to break down. This may cause severe anemia (low RBC count). Anemia makes it difficult for the RBCs in your baby's blood to carry enough oxygen to his body.
Follow up with your baby's pediatrician as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Your baby's bilirubin and RBC levels may need to be checked after he leaves the hospital. You may need to bring your baby to your pediatrician's office or a lab to have this done. Your baby's bilirubin level may reach a very high level after he leaves the hospital. If that happens, your pediatrician will have you take your baby back to the hospital for treatment.
Contact your baby's pediatrician if:
- Your baby develops a fever.
- Your baby develops jaundice.
- Your baby is not feeding well or is urinating less than before.
- You have breastfeeding problems.
- By his fourth day of life, your breastfeeding baby has either of the following:
- Fewer than 4 to 6 wet diapers in a period of 24 hours.
- Fewer than 3 to 4 bowel movements in a period of 24 hours.
- You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your baby has jaundice that does not go away or gets worse.
- Your baby has shortness of breath.
- Your baby is having a seizure.
- Your baby is very irritable, fussy, and has a high-pitched cry.
- Your baby looks very tired or weak, or sleeps more than usual.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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