Reasons for Blood Transfusions During Pregnancy and Delivery
Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S., mostly affecting patients of African descent. It can be a life-threatening condition, one that requires ongoing transfusions throughout the patient’s life, especially during pregnancy. These transfusions allow sickle cell patients to stay strong throughout their pregnancy and birthing experience, helping to keep their babies strong and healthy, too.
Anemia, due to iron deficiency, is one of the most common reasons for non-emergency blood transfusions during pregnancy. Just a small amount of bleeding during delivery can cause potentially life-threatening complications in an anemic person. Blood transfusions prior to delivery help to minimize these risks for anemic parents.
Heavy bleeding (non-emergent) can also require blood transfusions. Some patients experience heavy bleeding during birth which, while not a crisis if the bleeding stops, can lead to symptoms like dizziness, weakness, and a general feeling of being unwell. Often, doctors will offer a post-birth transfusion if these symptoms are present.
Hemorrhaging (emergent), whether during pregnancy or childbirth (antepartum or postpartum), is a serious complication that can be fatal for the parent or infant. Hemorrhaging typically requires surgery, which increases the loss of blood. Blood transfusions help replace blood lost due to hemorrhaging and subsequent surgery.
Below are just a few of the many families that have received lifesaving transfusions from generous donors.