There have been far too many moms at my seminars the last 3 months reacting with alarm, surprise and anger to my cautioning them regarding giving Rhogam during pregnancy. As you can guess, these moms received the rhogam injections during their pregnancy and are now caring for neurologically injured children. They were never aware that these shots could be harmful to their fetus. It is frightening to contemplate how many mothers are getting these shots while pregnant without realizing the potential for fetal neurological damage. What's the deal?
Rhogam is a human gamma globulin (antibodies) directed against the Rh positive factor of blood. It is given to Rh negative mothers who give birth to Rh positive babies. The shot is designed to prevent these moms from becoming sensitized to the baby, rh+ blood. Once the mom becomes sensitized to this rh factor, there is the possibility of mom's immune system destroying the red blood cells of her next child. Historically, babies born after mom's immune system destroyed their blood cells acquire hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). 1 These babies require exchange transfusions after they are born. Such transfusions can now be done in utero.
To prevent rh- moms from becoming sensitized to baby rh+ blood. Rhogam is usually given within 72 hours after the birth of the rh+ baby. 2 There is a likelihood of baby blood, only 15 ml is needed, mixing with mom's blood during the birth process when the placental membrane breakdown. During pregnancy there is no mixing of mother's blood with baby blood. Giving mom rhogam after the baby's birth is sufficient to reduce the risk of HDN in her next child to about 1-2%. Rhogam is also indicated if the mom has an abortion, either natural or induced, or has abdominal trauma or an amniocentesis. Giving rhogam during pregnancy can reduce the risk of HDN by less than 1%. 2 It is doubtful that the slight benefit acquired by giving rhogam during pregnancy outweighs the risks to the fetus from the injection.
So what is the problem with giving the rhogam during pregnancy? The standard rhogam preparations contain the mercury compound, thimerosal. We commonly link this preservative with vaccines. Rhogam is a type of vaccine but not a vaccine directed against an infectious disease. The PDR cautions that the use of rhogam during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the fetus, 2. The high mercury content of the rhogam preparation can have serious neurological consequences on the developing fetus. Hair analysis of unvaccinated children born from mom's injected with rhogam demonstrate the presence of mercury. It is essential that these babies seek appropriate medical care to chelate and remove this mercury as soon as possible. How many babies have suffered permanent damage due to mercury toxicity from this desire to reduce the risk of HDN by less than 1% by injecting pregnant mothers?
How do we avoid damaging these children? First, mom's should question the rationale for injecting them while pregnant. Second, if rhogam administration during pregnancy is absolutely necessary then mom's should demand mercury free rhogam. Many moms report to me that their physicians blow them off when confronted with the request for mercury free rhogam or say that such a product is not yet available. The reality is that mercury-free rhogam is available in this country from Bayer Pharmaceuticals under their product name of Hyper Rho. This mercury free product has been available sine 1996. Their number is 800-243-4153.
References available at: http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html
It is important to note that in 2001, the FDA finally banned thimerosal from the Rhogam shot. Strangely, though earlier the next year, the FDA began recommending flu shots for women and babies. The flu shot has the highest levels of thimerosal of all vaccines...