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Giving blood

(22 Posts)
Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 16:01:08

Going to give blood for the first time soon. Does anyone have any advise or tips? I’ve been trying to drink plenty of water!

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MulticolourMophead Wed 30-Sep-20 16:06:43

Drinking plenty of water is probably the main advice I'd give, along with making sure you've had food at normal times, maybe a snack if it's more than a couple of hours between your last meal and the donation time.

You may, or may not, be given a sheet showing some exercises to do on the donation bed, but if they don't mention it, clenching your buttocks (each side in turn) then slowly releasing is a good way to keep your blood pressure up, which helps the donation.

Good luck.

Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 16:10:00

@MulticolourMophead thank you!

Will I just need to roll up my jumper sleeve or am I better in short sleeves?

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JemimaTiggywinkle Wed 30-Sep-20 16:14:05

Well done for signing up!

I would say don’t drink extra water before you go, just drink as normal. You’ll be told to drink water when you arrive, and there’s often a bit of a wait, so if you drink extra earlier you’ll just need a wee.

They will do a finger prick test first for iron, and tbh that’s as painful as it gets (I.e. not very).

Once you’re hooked up to give blood, keep unclenching and clenching your hand and wiggle your feet around to speed up your donation.

And as it’s your first time, don’t be alarmed when you’re escorted over to the biscuit table and supervised while you have a drink and a biscuit.

Good Luck smile

Mrsfrumble Wed 30-Sep-20 16:18:02

I’d say short sleeves, as they will put a cuff around the top of your arm then take blood from the crook of your elbow. My main tip would be fidgeting! The first time I went I was expecting a nice relaxing lie down, but the alarm on the machine kept going off as my blood pressure was too low. Now I clench my fist, jiggle my legs and do pelvic floor exercises which keeps my blood pressure up and makes the whole thing much quicker.

Well done OP, you’re doing a brilliant thing.

MulticolourMophead Wed 30-Sep-20 16:23:59

I agree with short sleeves, I always wear a t shirt with a jumper to hand if it's cold.

Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 16:27:06

Thank you! I will wear a t-shirt and take a cardigan with me.

I’ve never been iron deficient before so hoping to be ok. I discovered I was one of the rarer blood groups while pregnant and so wanted to donate once I had finished breastfeeding.

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Pickypolly Wed 30-Sep-20 16:27:31

Such a sense of achievement giving blood.
I always walk out of there feeling really proud of my little self.
I’ve given 5 times now smile
They text me to tell me where my blood is going too which I absolutely love.

Just go with it, enjoy the peace & feel proud.

MulticolourMophead Wed 30-Sep-20 16:30:09

I like the texts that tell you where your blood has gone. It's never been sent to my local hospitals, always further afield.

Oh, and OP, it's a donation chair, one that they can tilt back so you sort of lie down. I always struggle to get on it, being a bit short. I end up sliding down off it, though grin

LemonBreeland Wed 30-Sep-20 16:36:25

I started a similar thread a couple of months ago. The people are all really lovely and especially when they realise it's your first time. I got a bit dizzy afterwards and had to stay on the bed for a while, but it was honestly over so quickly. They say that you will be there for an hour, but the actual blood taking part only takes 8-10 minutes.

firstimemamma Wed 30-Sep-20 16:38:49

Have plenty of biscuits after! I have 3 or 4, not just 1 or 2. Don't be shy! smile

Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 16:52:51

@LemonBreeland that’s helpful thanks, I didn’t realise it only took 10 minutes!

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Pinkstars2501 Wed 30-Sep-20 16:54:13

I like the texts too! I moved away from my home town a few years ago and my last donation was used at my home towns hospital 😊

yeOldeTrout Wed 30-Sep-20 16:55:33

mmm... how long depends on person. DH can finish in 5 & I used to need > 20 minutes. What is your blood group, OP?

UselessTrees Wed 30-Sep-20 16:58:30

The rooms I've given blood in have generally been pretty warm, so a t-shirt and cardigan is perfect. I'd say keep hold of your phone or a book to keep you busy while you're in the chair - I usually forget and end up just staring at the ceiling for 15 minutes!

I went for my 25th donation yesterday evening. Haven't had a bad experience yet, and I'm sure they'll be especially nice on your first visit.

DGRossetti Wed 30-Sep-20 16:59:28

All good advice - and well done you !

MulticolourMophead Wed 30-Sep-20 17:03:43

Looking back, my first donation took nearly 30 minutes on the bed, because no one told me about rolling fingers, etc, etc to get the blood flowing. An older lady took me under her wing and gave me advice grin I was 18.

My record was 4 minutes between needle going in, and machine bleeping to confirm the correct weight had been reached. That was a very hot day. Normally it's about 7 to 10 minutes, colder weather being a factor that slows it all down a bit for me.

I've got used to it now, with 64 donations under my belt. I want to see if I can make 100.

sueelleker Wed 30-Sep-20 17:07:19

I've just completed 102! The only problem now is that my vein has got very scarred from all the donations, and it's quite painful when they insert the needle (I've always used the same arm) So next time i'm going to get them to try the other arm instead.

Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 17:14:41

@yeOldeTrout I’m A-

Nurses have struggled to get access to veins before and it took them 45 minutes to get IV access when I had given birth so I’m hoping it doesn’t go like that again!

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MulticolourMophead Wed 30-Sep-20 17:21:07

@sueelleker I had to switch arms after about 45 donations. I look like a pincushion in the right light.

DanFmDorking Wed 30-Sep-20 18:17:58

Here you are - The donation process.
Also, make sure they have your mobile phone number 'cause you get a text when your donation is used. smile

Snailsetssail Wed 30-Sep-20 19:08:33

I failed!

My veins are so thin I couldn’t produce a full donation in the time frame. Will have another go in a few months and get them to try the other arm.

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