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Fetal Blood Transfusion
(Intrauterine Transfusion; IUT; Intraperitoneal Transfusion; IPT)
- Intravascular transfusion (IVT)—done through the mother’s abdomen into the fetus’s umbilical cord
- Intraperitoneal transfusion (IPT)—done through the mother’s abdomen and uterus into the fetus’s abdomen; usually only done if IVT is impossible to do because of the position of the fetus and the umbilical cord
Reasons for Procedure
- Rh incompatibility—the mother and fetus have a different type of blood, and mother’s antibodies to fetal blood cells destroy fetal blood cells
- Parvovirus B19 infection—a viral infection in the mother
- Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome—can occur in twin pregnancies where development is in one chorionic sac
- Prevent or treat fetal hydrops before delivery—Hydrops is caused by severe anemia in the fetus, which develops into heart failure. This leads to fluid collecting in the skin, lungs, abdomen, or around the heart.
- Continue the pregnancy so the fetus can be born close to term
- Need for cesarean section because of fetal distress after the procedure
- Premature rupture of membranes and/or premature labor
- Abdominal bruising or soreness
- Bleeding, cramping, or leaking fluid from vagina
- Injury to the fetus
- Giving too much blood
- Fetal bleeding
- A rare condition in which the donor’s blood cells attack the fetus's blood cells
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
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- Pain medication
- Medication to help you relax
Description of the Procedure
- Show the position of the fetus
- Guide the placement of the needle through the amniotic sac and into the vessel in the umbilical cord
- Record the fetal heart rate
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Antibiotics to prevent infection
- Medication to prevent contractions or labor
- Liver damage
- Heart failure
- Respiratory failure
- Other complications if the baby is premature
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever or chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the needle insertion site
- You are not feeling your baby moving normally
- Water breaks
- Uterine contractions
- Back pain that comes and goes
- Vaginal bleeding
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Gibson BE, Todd A, et al. British Committee for Standards in Haematology Transfusion Task Force: Writing group. Transfusion guidelines for neonates and older children. Br J Haematol. 2004; 124: 433-453.
Management of Isoimmunization in Pregnancy. ACOG Educational Bulletin. No. 227. August 1996.
Rh factor. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/rhfactor.html. Updated April 2006. Accessed June 10, 2013.
van Kamp I, Klumper F, et al. Complications of intrauterine intravascular transfusion of fetal anemia due to maternal red-cell alloimmunization. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005;192:171-177.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 05/11/2013