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Erythroblastosis Fetalis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is erythroblastosis fetalis?

Erythroblastosis fetalis is a condition that causes your unborn baby's red blood cells (RBCs) 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 or her body. This condition is also called hemolytic disease of the newborn. Hemolysis means breaking down RBCs.

What causes erythroblastosis fetalis?

Certain differences in blood type can cause this condition. One type happens because you are Rh negative (Rh-) and your baby is Rh positive (Rh+). Another type happens because you and your baby have different major blood types. A, B, and O are the 3 major blood types. Erythroblastosis fetalis is most common when the mother's blood type is O and the baby's blood type is A or B. The differences in blood type causes your immune system to react by making antibodies. The antibodies can cross over to your baby through the placenta. They attack your baby's RBCs, causing them to break down.

What are the signs and symptoms of erythroblastosis fetalis?

How is erythroblastosis fetalis diagnosed?

Healthcare providers will need to know if you have past pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, or any blood transfusions. You or your baby may need any of the following tests:

How is erythroblastosis fetalis treated?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

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How can erythroblastosis fetalis be prevented?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call a doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. 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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Treatment options

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