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Can You Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

In principle, pregnant women cannot donate plasma. A lot of physiology changes take place as the body is adjusting to a new pregnancy.
The womb grows at the same pace as the fetus does, eventually resulting in a large supply of blood than normal. Typically, the volume of blood increase twice. This begs the question of whether you can donate plasma while pregnant.

It’s complex. During pregnancy, you and the fetus need extra blood. Agencies responsible for blood donation will tell you it’s next to impossible to donate. If you insist, they advise one to wait for at least six months after you give birth. Plasma donation by mothers not only puts them in risks but also present dangers to blood recipients.

A serious condition known as TRALI is likely to develop within five hours of transfusion into plasma recipients. While it’s rare, transfusion-related acute lung injury causes serious complications to the lungs and this may lead to death. Though plasma lacks cells, it does contain proteins such as antibodies. Plasma antibodies are likely to trigger the immune system thereby causing life-threatening dangers.

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Risks of Donating Plasma While Pregnant

While it’s good for one to donate plasma, it’s equally not safe for pregnant mothers to do so due to possible side effects. They include:

Dehydration

A lot of water is stored in plasma. That explains why one is likely to feel dehydrated after the donation process. Dehydration can be extended even to the growing fetus thereby lead to developmental problems.

Dizziness

Plasma contains a lot of nutrients and salts. These nutrients help keep the boy well all time. Plasma donation means you will lose some of these nutrients. This causes electrolyte imbalance that may lead to fainting and dizziness. Fatigue is also likely to occur and this worsens the situations in already tired pregnant women.

Bruising and Discomfort

For mothers with bleeding disorders, a needle may puncture a vein thus causing blood leaks. This leads to bruises as blood flows into soft tissues. Losing blood while on the other hand, you need extra blood to support pregnancy is dangerous.

Citrate reaction

The anticoagulant substance is used to prevent blood clotting when donating plasma. As you know, blood is pumped into a machine then plasma separated before blood is returned into the body. While the machine retains the anticoagulant substance, some find their way into your bloodstream. This causes temporal loss of calcium and can be quite risky for pregnant mothers.

Miscarriage

Can donate plasma while pregnant cause miscarriage? The answer is yes. The reason is that plasma makes the amniotic fluid protecting your baby. If much of plasma is taken from this fluid, then chances of a miscarriage are possible.

What Can Happen if You Accidentally Donated Blood While Pregnant?

Chances are you donated blood without knowing about your pregnancy. If you are a regular donor, this can happen only in the first stages of pregnancy. The good news is that less fetus development takes place during such time. As a result, there are fewer risks if you donated blood. In addition, various tests are carried out before one cannot donate blood. Some of the tests include temperature levels, blood pressure, and others. Therefore, blood donation at this phase is healthy. You can consult your physician in case of anxieties.

Can plasma centers tell if you’re pregnant?

Before donating plasma, agencies will first ask females if they are pregnant. Again, they carry other tests such as hemoglobin and blood pressure. They will not take your blood if you are pregnant as their guidelines do not permit.

Why some pregnant women are asked to give blood?

This only happens in one scenario, if the doctor thinks you might need a blood transfusion during your delivery. Women under high-risk pregnancy fall into this category. Also, there are cases where women develop risks of severe anemia and bleeding during conception. Once a doctor realizes this, they will ask you to donate some beforehand. It’s for your own good after all!

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The FAQs About Donate Plasma While Pregnant

Q. What happens if you donate blood while pregnant?

Answer: There is a risk of developing severe anemia during pregnancy. Research shows that around 50% of women worldwide develop iron-deficiency while pregnant. Anemia occurs as a result of the body not producing the required amount of red blood cells. Also, this can occurs when red blood cells fail to work well resulting in a lack of iron in the body. Besides, pregnancy results in high demand for iron for fetus development. Donating blood will only worsen the situation as more iron is lost. Lack of iron during pregnancy is likely to cause:

  • Placental abruption
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight

Q. Can you donate blood While pregnant?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. It’s like taking food out of your baby’s mouth. Most of the proteins and nutrients are found in plasma. To protect your health and avoid causing complications to the fetus, doctors advise against it. In addition, you need to give your body enough time to replenish and heal after delivery. Plasma forms a large portion of the healing journey.

Now can you donate plasma while breastfeeding? There are also donation restrictions while breastfeeding as it may lead to the low quality of breast milk. For regular donors looking to get pregnant, it’s advisable to build and improve iron levels in preparation to meet pregnancy requirements.

Q. What disqualify you from donating plasma?

Answer: While it’s a good gesture to volunteer to donate blood, a number of factors may limit some individuals. They include:

1. Having piercings and tattoos

People who recently had piercing and tattoos are not legible to donate plasma. Alternatively, you can wait for at least 4 months before you can donate again. The main reason behind this is to prevent the transmission of diseases such as hepatitis. Tattoos made in a licensed parlor in a regulated state where high hygiene is observed is allowed.

2. Experiencing a flu

If you experience some cold flu or fever on the day if donation, its advisable to wait until you get better. This also applies when you generally feel unwell. Blood transfusion agencies do not permit this as a precaution to prevent the spread of diseases during donation.

3. If under antibiotic treatment

You cannot donate plasma if you had been on antibiotic treatment with the last week. Also, if you had an infection for the past two weeks, agencies will not allow for blood donation. The reason is that some infections are transmissible in blood. The reasons for antibiotic treatment are evaluated well before donation.

4. Not enough weight

You should have at least 110 pounds to be considered healthy for plasma donation. Those who are underage are required to meet specific requirements. Underweight individuals are likely to become weak after donation. The same applies to people with inadequate amounts of iron.

5. Having a new sexual partner

To avoid the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission, gays who had anal sex are required to wait at least for one year before donating plasma. People with multiple sexual partners should also follow the same course. Anyone who slept with a commercial worker should also wait for one year before donating.

Other reasons that disqualify one from donating plasma include:

  • Having cancers
  • You had sexually transmitted infections such as hepatitis or jaundice in the last year
  • Drug users

Q. Can you donate platelets if you are pregnant?

Answer: The main purpose of blood transfusion is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood to those in need. However, certain antibodies have been found to cause adverse reactions in blood recipients. One such is called the Human Leukocyte Antigens. Pregnant and previously pregnant women have been found to contain this kind of antibodies more. However, this doesn’t mean you are automatically disqualified from donating platelets.

Previously responding to the main question. Pregnant women are not allowed to donate platelets. During pregnancy, there are chances of blood from the fetus crossing into the mother. Also, this can happen during delivery. During the blood exchange, the mother’s immune is likely to react. As a result, the mother develops antibodies to the baby’s blood cells. Now a mother donating platelets means her antibodies are going to react with the recipient’s blood. Worse, the complication rising can be life-threatening.

Therefore, a mother looking to donate platelets will need to undergo an HLA test on their platelets before donation. One can donate of the test turns negative.

Final Thought

In summary, anyone who is pregnant is excluded from plasma donation. The body is undergoing major changes as it tries to adapt to the new state of pregnancy. During this, you need to care and take good care of yourself and the life you are carrying. We all get feelings of contentment while we donate blood in order to save a life.

By not donating when pregnant, you are also saving the new life developing in you. The body needs enough of your blood to support you and the developing fetus. Going ahead increases the risks of anemia and compromise fetal health. It’s recommended you wait for at least 12 months when the baby is weaning before you think of blood or plasma donation.

Related Reading:

Dr. SM Kamal Hasan, MBBS(Medicine), Rangpur Medical College and Hospital Rangpur- Dinajpur Highway, Cantt, Near Central Jail, Rangpur 5400, Bangladesh