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Female - The Rh Factor and herbal abortions

by Kari Radoff, Clinical Herbalist

Medical Herbalism 12(1):15

The Rh factor is a subject that has rarely been discussed in the case of herbal abortions. In pregnancies, ending in either delivery, miscarriage, or abortion, in a conventional medical setting, the Rh factor is always taken into consideration.

The Rh factor is a component of the blood. 85% of Americans have Rh-positive (Rh+) blood, while 15% have Rh-negative (Rh-). If a woman has Rh- blood she can be at risk for complications in her second and future pregnancies, if her first pregnancy is with that of a fetus who has Rh+ blood. Generally her first pregnancy (with a Rh+ fetus) will result in a healthy live birth. During the course of the pregnancy, delivery, or possible miscarriage and abortion, the mother may build up antibodies to the fetal Rh+ blood. These antibodies are generated if the fetal blood passes through the placenta into the motherís blood stream. If the antibodies are formed and left untreated, there may be risks for future pregnancies with Rh+ fetuses. These risks include reoccurring miscarriages, as well as disorders of the fetus such as erythroblastosis fetalis, a disease where the antibodies destroy the fetal red blood cells, resulting in anemia and brain damage. In an allopathic setting women giving birth, suffering a miscarriage, or choosing an abortion are all given a shot of RhoGAM intramuscularly if they have Rh- blood, to prevent these risks. RhoGAM is given either prior to delivery and abortion, or within 72 hours of birth, miscarriage, and abortion. RhoGAM renders any RH+ antibodies inert.

The importance of Rh- blood type in herbal abortions can be seen in the following case study. A woman was two weeks pregnant when she began receiving counseling for an herbal abortion. She followed all recommendations for five weeks with no results. The woman then decided to have a clinical abortion. At the abortion clinic she discovered that she was Rh- and they explained the risks of having this blood type. They questioned whether she had any spotting, because that itself could be a risk for Rh+ antibody production. To her relief, she had no spotting and did not miscarry. She then underwent the clinical abortion and received a shot of RhoGAM. This woman was frustrated that the herbalist had not screened for this, and even more so that the herbalist had little knowledge of the relevancy of Rh- blood type in relation to abortion. Had she spotted or aborted the fetus, she may not have been able to carry a subsequent child to term.

In conclusion, the Rh factor should become a subject of common knowledge among those herbalists choosing to counsel women in herbal abortions. Herbal practitioners should take the same precautions as those in conventional medical settings. Women should be screened for their blood type in all cases. If the herbal abortion clients are Rh- they must be educated on the risks of having Rh- blood type. Herbalists should be responsible for this knowledge, understanding what effects the Rh factor can have on women.
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    97


    Medical Herbalism: Clinical Articles and Case Studies

Kari Radoff is a clinical herbalist in private practice in Denver Colorado. She teaches in Denver and at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in New York
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    98