RhoGAM Is a Specific Brand of Rh Immune Globulin

Pregnant African American woman holding her stomach in hospital
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

RhoGAM is a specific brand of Rh immune globulin. This drug is an injection given to women who are Rh-negative (your blood is O negative, A negative, or so forth) who give birth or experience a pregnancy loss. RhoGAM is not the only brand of Rh immune globulin on the market, but it was the first developed, and the term became commonly used to refer to Rh immune globulin much the same as people use the brand name Kleenex to refer to all types of tissues.

Rh- immune globulin prevents a woman's body from forming antibodies to Rh factor in the event that their baby's blood type is Rh-positive. If their body does form these antibodies, future pregnancy complications may result. Sensitization after a miscarriage is rare but most physicians prefer to give the shot to women with Rh-negative blood types as a precaution.

The Rh immune globulin is a blood product and carries a very small risk of transmitting blood-borne viruses, but in the vast majority of cases, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Adverse effects attributable to RhoGAM are very rare; however, most physicians will keep women for observation about 20 minutes following the injection.

RhoGAM is also referred to as RhIG and brand names, such as MICRhoGam, WinRho-D and BayRho-D.

Actions of Rho (D) Immunoglobulin

When an Rh-negative woman gives birth to a baby with Rh-positive blood or miscarries a baby with Rh-positive blood, some blood from the baby can leak into the mother's system during delivery. Remember that delivery is, among other things, a bloody process.

This blood exposure can cause the mother to create antibodies to Rh-positive blood. In the case of future pregnancy, if the baby was Rh-positive, antibodies in the mother's body may then be primed to attack the baby resulting in a condition termed hemolytic disease of the newborn.

Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn

Hemolytic disease of the newborn is also called erythroblastosis fetalis. Infants born with this condition can appear in various states from normal to severely ill. This condition commonly presents as jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, eyes, and tongue, which occurs due to the breakdown of red blood cells and accumulation of the byproduct bilirubin. Hemolytic disease of the newborn can also cause cardiorespiratory arrest and death of the newborn baby.

Hemolytic disease of the newborn can be detected either in the fetus or in the baby using laboratory testings. Specifically, in order to diagnose the fetus, a cordocentesis must be performed at around 17 weeks. Cordocentesis is an invasive test in which blood is drawn from the umbilical vein in the umbilical cord which connects to the placenta. Hemolytic disease of the newborn is diagnosed in newborns using blood testing.

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Rh incompatibility.

  2. Fyfe TM, Ritchey MJ, Taruc C, Crompton D, Galliford B, Perrin R. Appropriate provision of anti-D prophylaxis to RhD negative pregnant women: a scoping reviewBMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014;14:411. doi:10.1186/s12884-014-0411-1

  3. Iberahim S, Aizuddin MJ, Kadir NA, et al. Hemolytic disease of fetus and newborn in a primigravida with multiple alloantibodies involving anti-jka and anti-e: a case reportOman Med J. 2020;35(6):e206. doi:10.5001/omj.2020.135

  4. Basu S, Kaur R, Kaur G. Hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn: current trends and perspectivesAsian J Transfus Sci. 2011;5(1):3-7. doi:10.4103/0973-6247.75963

Additional Reading
  • Steele P. Diseases of Infancy and Childhood. In: Laposata M. eds. Laboratory Medicine: The Diagnosis of Disease in the Clinical Laboratory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.