ABO and Rhesus blood groups in mothers and their newborns in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

  • CA Nwauche
  • AU Eneh
  • CO Pughikumo
  • IN Chijioke-Nwauche


Background: Blood groups are inheritable red cell antigens passed on to the next generation in a simple Mendelian pattern. The distribution of blood group antigens is fairly constant in a given population. They are therefore important in the planning of blood transfusion services and anthropology.
Aim: To ascertain the distribution of ABO and Rhesus (Rh) red cell antigens in mothers and their newborns, and examine the risk of ABO and Rh incompatibility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Methods: A total of 103 women in their immediate post-partum state and their newborns were randomly recruited into the study. The study was conducted between October and December 2004. Blood samples from mothers and babies were analyzed for ABO and Rh D red cell antigens.
Results: ABO antigens were distributed as follows: Mothers, group O 58.2%, group A (22.3%), group B (16.5%) and AB (2.9%). In babies:  group O (65.1%), group A (19.4%), group B (13.6%) and group AB (1.9%). Rh D antigen was positive in 95.2% of mothers and 94.2% of babies. Eight (7.7%) of the maternal-cord blood pairs had a possible risk of ABO incompatibility. Only two babies had haemoglobin concentration (Hb) less than 10.0g/dl. Three (2.9%) of the maternal-cord blood pairs had a possible risk of Rh D incompatibility, but all three babies had Hb≥ 14.0g/dl.
Conclusion: This study  shows that blood group O was by far the commonest ABO blood group in mothers and their babies in the Port Harcourt area. Rh D positivity was about 95% in both groups. Therefore, blood group O, Rh positive blood should constitute the main group in the blood banks in this area. The overall risk of ABO and Rh D incompatibility between mother and child was low in this study.

Keywords: ABO, Rhesus, Blood groups, Mothers, Newborns

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eISSN: 0795-3038