Blood Transfusions
Blood Transfusions — WITHIN the Womb!

From conception, babies grow safely within the womb and receive all they need from their mothers. What happens, though, when Pre-Born babies need a little extra help to keep them safe and growing? Sometimes, to save their lives, doctors intervene to treat certain anomalies, even while these babies are in the womb!

Doctors perform heart surgeries on Pre-Born babies as early as 22 weeks gestation. [1] Procedures to correct spina bifida that are performed while babies are still growing in the womb can provide a better quality of life for those babies after they are born. [2] Laser surgery on the placenta can help twins who aren’t sharing nutrients as they should.  Medical treatments for Pre-Born babies are not only saving lives, they are improving lives! 

But did you also know that doctors are saving Pre-Born babies with blood transfusions? That’s right, babies can receive blood transfusions before they are even born! In fact, these transfusions can be given as early as 18 weeks gestation to save the life of the Pre-Born baby. [3]

Pre-Born babies who are Rh-positive but have mothers that are Rh-negative can face life-threatening anemia as a result of a mother’s antibodies attacking her baby’s blood. Intrauterine blood transfusions have been saving Pre-Born babies for decades!

Doctors insert a small needle into the mother’s abdomen and using ultrasound guidance, follow through to the umbilical vein to administer a blood transfusion to the baby. Both patients — mother and Pre-Born baby — are monitored closely and given the best care possible. This procedure sometimes has to be performed again within days and again 3 to 5 weeks later, as the mother’s antibodies can continue to attack her baby’s blood, but it is highly effective and safe for both mother and baby.

New medical advances that treat Pre-Born babies are rapidly being developed, and this exciting field of medicine has centers across the world competing to provide better care to both Pre-Born babies and their mothers.

Doctors strive to treat all patients with dignity and respect. Babies in the womb are also patients and deserve all the care and medical interventions we have at our disposal. 

Remember, a patient is a person no matter how small!

[1] https://www.dukehealth.org/pediatric-treatments/pediatric-cardiology/fetal-cardiology

[2] https://www.chop.edu/treatments/fetal-surgery-spina-bifida
[3] https://childrenswi.org/medical-care/fetal-concerns-center/programs/fetal-interventions-and-surgery/fetal-intrauterine-transfusion

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