January is national blood donor month. According to the American Red Cross, winter is “one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.”
The holidays and weather factor into this, but it’s also flu season and seasonal illnesses are at a high. This is why, if you find yourself healthy in these winter months, donating blood is of utmost importance.
Blood transfusion in pregnant and postpartum women is a common occurrence. The two main reasons for blood transfusion are postpartum hemorrhages and severe anemia.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, postpartum hemorrhaging is responsible for 25% of material morality.
The average amount of blood loss after the birth of a single baby in vaginal delivery is about 500 ml or 1,000 ml in a cesarean delivery. Any loss above this is considered a postpartum hemorrhage with varying levels of severity.
Women who loose 1500-2000+ ml of blood have extreme hemorrhaging and need blood transfusions. This means the woman has lost 25-35% of her blood volume.
About 5% of women suffer from postpartum hemorrhage and that number is more likely with a cesarean birth which account for over 30% of births in the US.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, anemia during pregnancy is responsible for 15% of maternal mortality.
Anemia during pregnancy is quite common and can usually be treated with extra iron supplements or change in diet. However if anemia isn’t addressed during pregnancy it can become severe causing loss of blood or preventions of clotting during labor or postpartum and may require a blood transfusion.
According to The American Red Cross, one person can donate around 470ml of blood at a time. This means, often, and in severe cases, one person may need blood donated from several people to save their lives.
We’ve compiled a list of places local to the DMV to donate. If you know of others please drop us a comment or an email!
American Blood Centers- Washington, DC
American Red Cross- Locations in Alexandria, DC, Fairfax, Ft. Belvoir, La Plata, Quantico, and Rockville
INOVA Blood Donor Services- Locations in Alexandria, Annandale, Centerville, and Sterling.
National Institute of Health- Bethesda.