Can You Donate Blood During Pregnancy?

 Abby McCoy Profile Photo
By Abby McCoy | Updated on Sep 12, 2023
Image for article Can You Donate Blood During Pregnancy?

You can’t donate blood while you’re pregnant because of the immune system changes in your bloodstream. Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA)1 are part of this system, and when you donate blood, your HLA proteins go with it. 

Half of a baby’s HLAs come from the sperm, and a pregnant person’s immune system makes antibodies to fight off the sperm HLA. These antibodies won’t hurt you or the baby, but if your blood gets transfused into someone with a different kind of HLA, it can cause a strong immune reaction that can hurt the recipient of your blood 2 

Experts advise waiting until at least six weeks 3 after delivery to donate blood. Even then, the donation organization might still check your blood for antibodies. Feel free to ask your healthcare provider if you’re unsure what to do.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

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Expectful uses only high-quality sources, including academic research institutions, medical associations, and subject matter experts.

  1. "HLA-B gene"https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/hla-b/#.

  2. Gry Persson, Christophe Picard, Gregory Marin, Cecilie Isgaard1, Christina Seefeldt Stæhr1, Nicolas Molinari, Jacques Chiaroni, Morten Lebech, Thomas Vauvert F. Hviid1, Julie Di Cristofaro"Maternal HLA Ib Polymorphisms in Pregnancy Allo-Immunization"Frontiers, vol. 12Mar 30, 2121https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.657217/full#.

  3. "Donating Blood"Jun 1, 2020https://llli.org/breastfeeding-info/donating-blood/.


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 Abby McCoy Profile Photo
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Abby McCoy
Updated on Sep 12, 2023

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Can You Donate Blood During Pregnancy?

 Abby McCoy Profile Photo
By Abby McCoy | Updated on Sep 12, 2023
Image for article Can You Donate Blood During Pregnancy?

You can’t donate blood while you’re pregnant because of the immune system changes in your bloodstream. Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA)1 are part of this system, and when you donate blood, your HLA proteins go with it. 

Half of a baby’s HLAs come from the sperm, and a pregnant person’s immune system makes antibodies to fight off the sperm HLA. These antibodies won’t hurt you or the baby, but if your blood gets transfused into someone with a different kind of HLA, it can cause a strong immune reaction that can hurt the recipient of your blood 2 

Experts advise waiting until at least six weeks 3 after delivery to donate blood. Even then, the donation organization might still check your blood for antibodies. Feel free to ask your healthcare provider if you’re unsure what to do.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

Want evidence-based health & wellness advice for fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum delivered to your inbox?

Your privacy is important to us. By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

Expectful uses only high-quality sources, including academic research institutions, medical associations, and subject matter experts.

  1. "HLA-B gene"https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/hla-b/#.

  2. Gry Persson, Christophe Picard, Gregory Marin, Cecilie Isgaard1, Christina Seefeldt Stæhr1, Nicolas Molinari, Jacques Chiaroni, Morten Lebech, Thomas Vauvert F. Hviid1, Julie Di Cristofaro"Maternal HLA Ib Polymorphisms in Pregnancy Allo-Immunization"Frontiers, vol. 12Mar 30, 2121https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.657217/full#.

  3. "Donating Blood"Jun 1, 2020https://llli.org/breastfeeding-info/donating-blood/.


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