Objective: RhD-positive subjects are protected against toxoplasmosis-associated impairment of psychomotor performance. Here we searched for RhD-positivity-associated maternal protection against the effects of toxoplasmosis.
Methods: In the present retrospective cohort study, we analysed data from 785 (139 RhD-negative) Toxoplasma-free and 194 (27 RhD-negative) Toxoplasma-infected pregnant women. We searched for effects of toxoplasmosis and Rhd-phenotype on maternal weight before pregnancy, pregnancy weight gain, fetal ultrasound data (biparietal diameter, abdominal circumference, femur length) and on birth length and weight.
Results: At pregnancy week 16, the RhD-negative mothers with toxoplasmosis gained more weight than others (P < 0.001). The difference of about 1600 g remained approximately constant from pregnancy week 16 until the end of pregnancy. Neither toxoplasmosis nor RhD phenotype had any effect on fetal bioparameter data or birth length and weight.
Conclusion: The most parsimonious explanation for the observed data is that the RhD-positive phenotype might protect infected subjects against a broad spectrum of detrimental effects of latent toxoplasmosis, including excessive gestational weight gain.