Intrauterine Blood Transfusion: When It’s Necessary and How It’s Done

Pregnancy can be filled with many ups and downs particularly if there are complications such as fetal anaemia. In these circumstances, medical procedures are necessary to guarantee the baby’s health. Intrauterine blood transfusion is one such intervention. To help better grasp this vital area of fetal medicine, we will discuss when and how IUT is performed in this blog.

Understanding Fetal Anemia

Rh Incompatibility is one of the most important and major reasons for Fetal anaemia. When the mother’s blood group is negative, the husband’s blood group is positive and the fetus has a positive blood group, in such cases the possibility of Rh incompatibility arises. A baby with fetal anaemia has blood that is less concentrated than usual in red blood cells, or haemoglobin. If not treated in time, this leads to multiple complications in the unborn baby like hydrops, ascites, pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, cardiac failure and may lead to adverse outcomes before delivery. The good thing about this problem is that if diagnosed in time and treated appropriately by blood transfusion, these fetuses can have excellent recovery and survival chances.

When Is Intrauterine Blood Transfusion Necessary?

Intrauterine blood transfusion is indicated when fetal anaemia is diagnosed and poses a significant risk to the baby’s health. The choice to do an IUT can be influenced by a number of circumstances, such as:

1. Identification of Severe Fetal Anaemia: The degree of fetal anaemia, which is frequently evaluated by ultrasound MCA Doppler study or fetal blood sampling, establishes whether an IUT is necessary. Intrauterine Blood Transfusion is the only and best treatment option in cases of severe fetal anaemia.

2. Risk of Fetal Hydrops: If fetal anaemia is left untreated, there is a significant risk of fetal hydrops, a disorder marked by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the baby’s tissues. When there is a high chance of developing fetal hydrops, IUT is advised.

(Also Read: Down Syndrome Screening: Why Is It Important? (

How Is Intrauterine Blood Transfusion Done?

Fetal medicine specialists perform the extremely delicate and specialised technique of intrauterine blood transfusion. This is an outline of the usual procedure that is followed:

1. Diagnosis and Planning: As mentioned before, once fetal anaemia is diagnosed with the MCA Doppler study, the decision to transfuse blood is taken based on the severity and the gestational age of the patient.

2. Maternal Preparation: Antibiotics may be administered to the mother to lower her risk of infection.

3. Ultrasound Guidance: Continuous ultrasonography guiding is essential for the procedure. To assure accuracy and reduce risks, the location of the infant and the umbilical cord are visualised in real-time.

4. Anesthesia: To minimise discomfort during the process, the mother’s abdomen is often numbed with a local anaesthetic. The fetus is also given a dose of anaesthesia to reduce the excessive fetal movements during the procedure.

5. Needle Insertion: A thin, specialized needle is carefully inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the uterus. One of the baby’s blood veins within the umbilical cord or intra-abdominal vein is where the needle is inserted.

6. Blood Sampling and Transfusion: After the needle is positioned correctly, a tiny sample of the infant’s blood is drawn for examination to determine the exact degree of anaemia. The amount of blood which needs to be transfused is then calculated. Appropriate donor blood is then carefully infused into the baby’s circulation through transfusion.

7. Monitoring and Post-Procedure Care: Throughout the procedure, the baby’s heart rate is continuously monitored. After the transfusion, the baby’s response is observed, and any necessary follow-up care is provided.


An essential procedure in fetal medicine, intrauterine blood transfusion gives unborn babies struggling with severe anaemia hope and a lifeline.

Consult a fetal medicine specialist if you or someone you know is considering Intrauterine blood transfusion. They can offer you the support, direction, and care you need to get through this challenging process and have a successful pregnancy.

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