What’s it all about?
Anti-D is a medicine made from blood. It is offered to rhesus negative women who may have been exposed to rhesus positive blood. The most likely time for this to happen is during birth. Anti-D is offered at several points during pregnancy and after birth. It is given to prevent the woman becoming sensitised to the rhesus factor, which may cause a problem for any future rhesus positive babies.
Sara’s book explains the science behind this area, the history of Anti-D and the research studies that have been carried out to evaluate its effectiveness. She looks at the wider consequences and side effects. Sara takes the reader on a journey through the research, explaining what we know and highlighting the gaps in our knowledge.
The book has been written to help you make the decisions that are right for you. It draws upon the stories and experiences of a number of women and Sara also answers the most frequently asked questions from parents.
“In 2001, I published my first book, Anti-D in midwifery: panacea or paradox? It was the story of my Master’s research, in which I explored holistic midwives’ knowledge in relation to Anti-D and possible alternatives. That was the only book that had ever been written on this topic. Although that first book was very much about the research, and aimed at midwives and doctors, many women and families read it too. it was literally the only source that said anything other than, “you need this, don’t ask questions.”
For years, people kept telling me that we needed a new book on Anti-D, but it never quite made it to the top of my list. Then I found myself with some unexpected free time in 2020. And it struck me that 2021 would be the twentieth anniversary of the first book and also around fifty years since the Anti-D programme had begun. So here it is, though this time it has been written for parents as well as professionals.
As with all my books, I’ve tried to make it relevant no matter where you are in the world. Of course there are variations; that’s inevitable. Even the degree of variation in what happens in different parts of the same country is stunning. But the very act of showing that there are variations in itself helps to illustrate part of the problem we have where interventions are being offered on a routine basis but without there always being good underpinning evidence.”
Get your copy here:
You can also order Anti-D Explained from your local indie bookshop, the IBSN is 978-1-999806453.
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What are people saying?
“Sara Wickham’s book does exactly what it promises.
In it she explains a technical subject in a way that is remarkably clear and accessible to the lay person. The reader is guided through the complexities of the way in which research is commissioned, funded and carried out. I thought I would struggle with an area I have no previous knowledge of but I was gently led through so that I finished the book with an understanding of why and how anti-D is offered to women. I also felt a much greater understanding of how our collective knowledge advances and the difficulties faced by those who need to treat problems with incomplete knowledge. A brilliant book.” – Gill Boden.
“I read Sara’s previous Anti D book years ago. I recall being shocked to discover how many gaps there are in our knowledge around rhesus disease causation and prevention. The amount of knowledge we maternity clinicians need to absorb is vast. As a junior doctor I decided that rhesus disease was simple – check the woman’s rhesus status, give Anti D – job done. This apparent simplicity is, I suspect, a large part of the reason behind the gaps in our knowledge. It is easier to continue to believe that the answer is this simple, despite the reality that everything in healthcare is inevitably complex. Sara’s Anti D book has been updated to include all the new research since the previous one but continues to highlight the absence of evidence to underpin some of the ways in which Anti D is typically used. There is now a handy section on the use of non-invasive prenatal testing to determine the blood group of the fetus during pregnancy. The book is so up to date that there is even a section exploring the question of whether COVID19 can be transmitted via Anti D! If you are a clinician counselling women about Anti D use during pregnancy and after birth, or are a rhesus negative woman navigating your own decisions about Anti D use, Sara’s book is a great addition to your collection.” – Kirsten Small. Obstetrician Gynaecologist.
“When it comes to considering what should or shouldn’t be done to your body and/or to the bodies of your babies, it’s your literal birthright to be granted the time and space you need to study and think and determine what you consider to be the best choice for you and yours as unique entities in the midst of this great sea of humanity, especially as it’s primarily you and yours who’ll live with the rippling ramifications of whatever choices are made. So, if you happen to be one of those individuals who’d appreciate the chance to study and think and make your own well-informed decisions regarding your body and the bodies of your babies, Sara’s books are the books for you. And if you happen to be of an Rh negative blood type, Anti-D Explained is very definitely the book for you.
Again and again and again, thank you, Dr. Sara for working so diligently to unearth and bring clarity to the complexities of birthing our babies in this complicated world–you’ve made another beautifully successful effort!” – Kim Osterholzer. Midwife and Author.
“As ever, [Sara] has been able to very skillfully make a complex topic fascinating and understandable. She thoughtfully weaves together research evidence and critical comment, spelling out what we know, what we don’t know and what questions still need to be researched. This is such an important book on a topic that impacts on many pregnant women and their babies.
Crucial reading for midwives, other birth workers and pregnant women.
I’m so delighted that its available and will be pointing women and others towards it regularly.” – Dr Nadine Edwards
About the Author
Dr Sara Wickham is an author, educator, and researcher. She has more than 25 years experience as a midwife and educator and her first book was published in 2001.
Sara is now the author or editor of eighteen books and has edited three midwifery journals. She provides in-person and online educational and consultancy services for midwifery, medical and health-related practitioners and organisations around the world.
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