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What are some facts about Rh negative blood types?

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Quick Answer

Rh negative blood types are complex blood groups that are genetically passed from parents to their children, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. People with Rh negative lack the Rh factor, which is a protein on the surface of red blood cells.

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Full Answer

The blood of most people contains proteins on the surface of red blood cells, according to Mayo Clinic. These people are Rh positive, while those who lack these proteins are Rh negative. The Rh negative blood type is a genetic occurrence that individuals acquire if their parents had Rh negative blood. Like other blood types, Rh negative does not affect the health of individuals. However, a woman who is Rh negative may develop pregnancy complications if the father of the baby is Rh positive.

Rh incompatibility, which is rare in the first pregnancy, occurs when a mother is Rh negative and the fetus is Rh positive, states the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. When the mother's Rh negative blood comes in contact with that of the fetus, it produces antibodies that fight the positive Rh factor and causes Rh diseases when the baby is born. Scientists discovered Rh blood types in 1939, almost 40 years after the discovery of the ABO blood group system, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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