Blood Transfusion and Safety

There is always going to be some degree of blood loss with the delivery of a baby. Normally, by the end of pregnancy, the woman’s body has been able to produce about 500 cc extra blood (equivalent to a 1 unit blood donation). This one reason is why taking extra iron and folic acid is important during pregnancy.

Sometimes the blood loss is higher than average. This can occur with a Cesarean Section or if there is a delivery complication such as placenta previa, retained placenta, or postpartum hemorrhage. Most of the time, the body can sustain a great deal of blood loss without a transfusion being necessary. However, in the event of excessive blood loss, a blood transfusion may become necessary to preserve the life and health of the patient.

If a blood transfusion becomes necessary, the need is immediate and therefore volunteer donor blood bank blood must be used. It takes days to prepare blood from a relative before it is ready to be transfused. All donor blood is stringently tested per Red Cross and FDA regulations; however, despite thorough testing, there is still a remote chance of acquiring an infectious disease from blood such as HIV (odds are 1 in a million) or Hepatitis C (odds about 1 in 250,000).

If you would not accept blood under any circumstances, even those deemed to be life threatening, it is important that you inform us of this situation. Otherwise, we will assume that you agree to a blood transfusion if it becomes necessary.