Can I donate blood while…?

There’s a blood shortage in the United States right now. It takes less than an hour to donate (from walking in to walking out; the needle is only in your arm for about 10 minutes). And each unit donated can save up to three lives.

Can you donate?

There are some general requirements. You have to be feeling well and healthy. You need to be at least 16 years old (though some states have different requirements) and weigh at least 110 lbs. If you’ve traveled recently or at certain points in time, you may not be eligible. You also need to have a certain level of iron in your blood, which will be tested when you arrive at a donation center or drive.

But there are a few more requirements if you’re in certain stages of family formation. If you’re not sure about the rules, don’t worry; I’ve got you. Read below!

Can I donate blood if I’m pregnant?

Nope. Your body actually has more blood in it when you’re pregnant, but that’s because you need all that iron for both you and for baby’s development.

Can I donate blood if I recently gave birth?

Yes! In the United States, you need to wait at least six weeks. Other countries have varying restrictions, but many land around 6 months. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider about whether donating blood might be a good choice for you.

Can I donate blood if I’m lactating?

Yes! (In the United States.) Some countries (including New Zealand and Australia) recommend you wait until after your baby is “significantly weaned”, but other countries recommend only that you stay well hydrated while donating (more info here). If you have questions on whether you should consider donating blood while lactating, talk to a lactation consultant.

Okay, I think I can donate! What do I do now?

Go to this link to find a blood drive or donation center near you. They can help you make sure you’re eligible and can help you make your donation.

Man, I don’t think I can donate. What can I do instead?

There are a lot of reasons why you may not be eligible to donate. If you still want to help address the blood shortage, keep an eye out for another upcoming post written just for you!

Photo by Nguyễn Hiệp on Unsplash

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