Can I Give Blood While Pregnant?

Donating Blood During Pregnancy

There are many women out there who would love to give blood while pregnant, but unfortunately they cannot. If you are one of those wonderful women who donate regularly to the blood institute you are going to get a break while you are expecting.

While you are pregnant your blood volume increases – surely the perfect time you may be thinking, but the answer is still no. You need all of that extra blood for the health of you and your unborn baby.

Can I Give Blood While Pregnant? Answer: No

While there are no studies or official tests which have determined whether or not it is safe to give blood while pregnant, blood centers will not allow pregnant women to donate blood. Women who are trying to conceive are also advised to refrain from donating blood in this period. When you donate blood, it has the potential to deplete your iron stores, which can cause anemia. This has the potential to affect your baby if you are pregnant.

I am a regular blood donor but can I give blood while pregnant?

Unfortunately you’re going to have to wait until after the birth of your child. While regular blood donors are wonderful people and the nation depends on them, there are no blood centers or other agencies like the Red Cross who will accept donations of blood from women who are expecting.

I gave blood before I realized I was pregnant

This happens, especially if you are a regular donor and your little one was an unexpected blessing. There are many women who have accidentally given blood before realizing and gone on to have healthy pregnancies and there are other women who have reported miscarriages. The truth is no one actually knows. While researching I saw one woman who had reported accidentally given blood and then suffered with nausea from that day until delivery. Coincidence or side effect? On the whole it would seem that usually pregnancy progresses as normal and healthy babies are delivered. If you have recently given blood and then discovered you are pregnant the best advice would be to speak with your doctor.

What happens to a pregnant woman’s circulation?

Before we fall pregnant our circulation moves easily around our body like a one way road map – our heart pumps through our arteries and the blood returns to our heart through our veins. After we fall pregnant we have two people to pump blood for, and the road map becomes a little more complex. Our blood will now filter through our placenta to our baby, carrying the nutrients the little one needs on the road in and on its way back through the placenta it will carry waste from inside the womb.

Your heart rate will increase to accommodate your fetus and your blood pressure will adjust too. Usually your blood pressure will drop in the first stages of your pregnancy and then rise in the second half. Your blood is providing the nutrients to your little one, it is also providing the oxygen. As your blood makes its way around your body and that of your fetus it is having to work harder and make a longer trip. Even though we are especially created to carry an infant, pregnancy does come with additional stresses on your circulation system and your body.

What if my doctor has asked me to bank some blood because of a high risk pregnancy?

Your doctor is a health professional and will be acting in the best interest of you and your baby. If you are ever worried about the health of you or your fetus always get a second opinion. Sometimes your doctor may believe that you are at risk of needing a blood transfusion after the birth of your child and this is why you may be asked to bank some blood in preparation. This is definitely not a common occurrence and your healthcare professional will be able to discuss this in depth with you and your partner.

When can I donate blood again?

While you definitely cannot give blood while pregnant, you will be able to continue doing so after your new baby arrives. The Red Cross will allow you to donate blood again six weeks after giving birth, but there is no hard and fast rule. If you are breastfeeding your baby you should still avoid giving blood until they are weaned or almost weaned. Speak to your doctor about blood donation when breastfeeding. Ultimately its up to you. Giving birth is a natural process, but it’s also hard work! Your body will take time to recover and it will need the iron and other nutrients carried around by your circulation. The best advice is to listen to your body – you will know when you’re ready to donate again.