Birth Definitions

Rhogam Definition


Rhogam is a medication given to Rh-negative women during pregnancy and after giving birth, to help prevent their bodies from producing antibodies against the Rh factor. The Rh factor is a protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If you have the Rh factor, you are Rh-positive. If you don’t have the Rh factor, you are Rh-negative. Most people are Rh-positive. 

If an Rh-negative woman becomes pregnant with an Rh-positive baby, her body may produce antibodies against the Rh factor. These antibodies can cross the placenta and destroy the baby’s red blood cells, causing a condition called hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). HDN can be mild, moderate, or severe. It can cause anemia, jaundice, and heart failure in the baby. In severe cases, it can be fatal. 


Rhogam helps prevent HDN by “inactivating” the mother’s antibodies so they can’t attack the baby’s red blood cells. It is made from human blood that has been treated to remove all viruses and other infectious agents. 

Rhogam is given as an injection into the muscle (IM) or under the skin (subcutaneous). The first dose is given at 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you are not sure if you are Rh-negative or positive, a blood test can be done to find out. 

The second dose ofRhogam is given within 72 hours after delivery if the baby is Rh-positive. This dose is for women who did not receive the first dose during pregnancy or whose blood type was not determined until after delivery. 

Side Effects

Some women may experience discomfort at the injection site, redness, warmth, or bruising. These side effects usually go away within a few days. Serious allergic reactions toRhogam are rare but possible. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or lips, and hives. If you have any of these symptoms after receiving Rhogam, call 911 or get to a hospital right away. 

This image shows how often the term ‘Teratogen’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

Related terms: 

Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN)

Rho(D) immune globulin (anti-D immunoglobulin)

RhoGAM Ultra-Filtered PLUS

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