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Jenna McCarthy

Can Pregnant Women Give Blood?

I usually give blood every year. Can I do it now that I’m pregnant?

As if you haven’t been poked and prodded enough lately! Despite how generous and thoughtful you are to even ask, according to Hilda Hutcherson, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, your do-good deed should wait. “You need all the blood you’ve got right now for you and your baby,” she says.

Here’s another reason to hold off: Up to 50 percent of women will experience pregnancy-related  anemia — a low red blood cell count usually caused by iron deficiency — which wouldn’t make you a great candidate to begin with, explains San Diego–based expert David M. Priver, MD, FACOG.

Plus, you’ll probably get turned away if you even try. “We live in such a litigious society, I doubt anyone would let a pregnant woman donate blood anyway,” adds Priver. (At America’s Blood Centers, “pregnancy” is listed among the “reasons for deferral”; on the website giveblood.org, the FAQ section specifically says you must wait until six weeks after the baby is born to donate blood.)

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