can you donate plasma while pregnant

Can You Donate Plasma While Pregnant? We Asked 13 Experts

Plasma donation has numerous benefits for both the donor and recipient. It provides the recipient with essential antibodies which can help to fight diseases. But can you donate Plasma while pregnant?

Plasma is the basis of the blood comprising about 55% of it. Consider it as your body’s local transit system that transports hormones, proteins, and nutrients to various organs and parts of your body. Additionally, it helps in waste removal. So you can see that it’s an essential part of our bodies.

You can help people who need life-saving treatments for conditions like bleeding disorders, various cancers, and liver diseases by donating Plasma. Although plasma donation is highly encouraged, it is not always safe for everyone. The question remains, can you donate Plasma while pregnant?

In this article, we will discuss in detail the answer to the question: can you donate Plasma while pregnant?

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What is Plasma Donation?

plasma donation

Plasma is commonly referred to as the obscure part of blood. Blood comprises three components: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. The yellow fluid known as Plasma carries these blood components into the body. Plasma is the most significant part of your body ( it makes up 55% of your body). In addition, Plasma transports water, hormones, nutrients, and essential salts into the body. It also gets rid of the waste product from cells.

Plasma donation involves transfusion of the yellow color liquid found in the blood. Blood is first drawn from the donor, and the Plasma is then separated and collected from the blood using a machine. The plasma donation process takes time as the remaining blood cells are returned to the donor. Plasma from the AB group is recommended because AB plasma is universal, which means it can be transfused into any blood.

Can You Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

One of the questions people ask is: can you donate Plasma while pregnant?

No, pregnant women cannot donate Plasma. Few studies have been conducted on the effects of plasma donation on pregnant women, and it was quickly discovered that their Plasma could have serious adverse effects on the recipient.

can you donate plasma while pregnant

Some molecules are attached to most of the cells in the human body. The immune system and how the body identifies and responds to foreign cells depends on these molecules, known as human leukocyte antigens (HLA).

After conception, both the mother’s and the father’s HLAs are present in the fetus. However, the mother’s body will develop antibodies against them since the father’s HLAs are foreign. Plasma also contains these antibodies, and a life-threatening complication known as transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) could occur if a person receives Plasma from a pregnant woman.

What Happens When You Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

You may cause severe complications for the recipient of your Plasma. Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), a class of proteins found in the majority of your body cells, are the cause of these severe complications that may occur.

These proteins(HLA) play a vital role in helping your immune system respond to outside invaders that it may encounter. HLA is also present in your baby, which comes from the sperm and your egg. If you donate Plasma that contains HLA antibodies, there are chances that these antibodies might spur a life-threatening complication called Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI).

The rare syndrome causes lung failure after a blood transfusion and can be severe. That’s why we have to be extra careful here.

Can Plasma Donation While Pregnant Affect The Baby?

Due to several TRALI cases that have been reported in the past, pregnant women are no longer allowed to donate Plasma. However, there isn’t much research regarding whether or not plasma donation can affect your baby, but we know that Plasma is essential when pregnant.

When you’re pregnant, your body increases its plasma volume by almost 50% because both your organs and the developing organs of your growing baby require a blood boost to function at their peak. Therefore, you have full permission to keep the Plasma for yourself and your unborn baby for the time being. Additionally, it is not advisable to donate blood when pregnant because your body requires as much iron and blood as it can get.

Pregnancy already increases the risk of anemia, a condition where there are insufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body tissues. It may affect your respiration and heart rate, making you feel dizzy and tired. Severe anemia during pregnancy can also cause issues for your baby, resulting in preterm birth and lower birth weight. Additionally, it can increase your baby’s risk of also having anemia.

What Are the Risks When You Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

Plasma donation during pregnancy has some severe risks, which have already been discussed in the sections above. Additionally, if you donate Plasma while pregnant, you could experience the following adverse effects:

1. Dehydration

Plasma contains 90% water, which may dehydrate pregnant women after donation. The baby will also get dehydrated, leading to developmental issues.

2. Dizziness

Essential minerals, salts, and nutrients are transported by Plasma, which aids in the baby’s growth. If you donate Plasma when pregnant, some of the nutrients are also given away, which can result in you and the baby not getting enough nutrition. It will further cause electrolyte imbalance and spur to dizziness and fainting.

3. Miscarriage

When you donate Plasma while pregnant, there is a danger of miscarriage. Plasma produces the amniotic fluid, which protects the developing baby, and the pregnancy may be at risk if the Plasma is taken out of the amniotic fluid.

4. Citrate Reaction

A machine known as a centrifuge is used to separate the Plasma from the blood. An anticoagulant is used to prevent blood clotting, which is often retained in the machine during separation. When the Plasma is separated from the blood, and the remaining blood is transfused back into your body, there is a possibility that the anticoagulant substance would get into the bloodstream, which could cause temporary calcium loss and be risky for the pregnant woman.

5. Bruising

Some pregnant women may have blood disorders, and such women may have significant blood loss if a needle punctures their veins. The blood can enter soft tissues, which might result in bruises. Blood loss can be risky for pregnant women.

Is It Okay To Donate Plasma While Pregnant?

No,  it is not okay to donate Plasma while pregnant because the baby developing inside your body requires essential minerals and nutrients to grow. When Plasma is removed, nutrients are also lost. Also, plasma donation is a stressful procedure, and stress is unsuitable for pregnant women and babies. However, It is advised that pregnant women avoid plasma donation due to the chances of complications for the recipient.

When Can I Donate Plasma After Having a Baby?

You can donate Plasma once your baby is up to six weeks old. Your blood will be screened for HLA antibodies before you are allowed to donate. If you test positive for them, they will remain in your body for the rest of your life. (Don’t worry; they won’t cause you any harm) The presence of HLA antibodies in your body means you won’t be able to donate Plasma, but you will still be able to donate red cells or whole blood.


Pregnancy causes a lot of physiological changes in your baby. Always maintain good health, eat healthily, and avoid stress to protect your baby’s health. You can also protect your baby’s health by abstaining from plasma donation. Plasma donation is risky for you and your baby and can cause significant health risks to the recipient. Therefore, you must follow your doctor’s advice before participating in any donation while pregnant for the benefit of everyone.

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