When you discover you’re about to become a parent for the first time, your outlook on the world may change a little bit. Often times people will think about how they want to raise their children in a happy, safe world, and maybe you’re considering becoming a little more altruistic. While it’s great to want to do good, if you’re pregnant, you need to be careful about what you choose to do. For example, donating blood. Donating blood is a great thing to do, and when you’re pregnant your blood volume increases significantly. Think again, as donating blood when pregnant is not a good idea.
Being pregnant can be one of the most beautiful and exciting times of your life, but it can also be incredibly nerve-wracking. There are so many resources out there that can help you make informed decisions, and it can be hard to decide what is safe and what isn’t. There are always things you should avoid when pregnant such as alcohol and caffeine. Blood donation is one of those things.
The American Red Cross’ eligibility requirements state that pregnant women are not allowed to donate blood. Doing so can have detrimental effects on your health and the safety of your child.
Donating blood typically leads to a drop in iron. A drop in iron can lead to anemia, and it’s especially harmful to pregnant women since they’re at high risk for this condition. According to Dr. Janelle Mary Jackman, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Kindbody in Silicon Valley, iron is very important to both mother and baby’s health during pregnancy, as it transports oxygen to various parts of the body, including the placenta, which is where oxygen diffuses into the baby’s blood.
This can lead to low oxygen levels throughout the body, which can cause premature birth and low birth weight. Aside from this, iron is also important for the development of the fetus and the red blood cells that nourish the mother.
It’s important to note that iron deficiency anemia isn’t a rare condition during pregnancy. According to Jackman, it’s caused by the plasma component of blood rising faster than the red blood cells. This causes physiological anemia in the mother. To avoid this, she recommends increasing your iron intake by around 350 to 500 mL. If you’re worried about an iron deficiency or an issue with your baby’s health, talk to your doctor about it. He or she can monitor your baby’s health and provide you with the correct information.
How Long After Giving Birth Can You Donate Blood?
If you’re still interested in blood donation once you’ve given birth, talk to your doctor about it. The American Red Cross won’t allow you to give blood until six weeks after you’ve had your baby, but you may want to wait between 6 to 9 months after childbirth as breastmilk relies on iron, and childbirth typically involves a large amount of blood loss.