Published Sunday, 29 September 2013
There are 26,000 people who require a transfusion each year in Northern Ireland, and 1,000 of them are pregnant women.
A mum from Doagh in Newtownabbey said it was what made the difference between life and death.
Claire Charles was pregnant with Naomi when she developed a condition which threatened both their lives.
Claire was rushed into hospital for an emergency caesarean section and urgently needed blood.
She told UTV: "I lost nine units of blood and that was in the controlled environment of a hospital, so if we hadn't had that blood available I wouldn't be here today.
"For me it was life saving."
For Claire the medical complications didn't end there.
Her daughter Naomi was born five weeks early and was gravely ill because of a low platelet level.
Claire continued: "If your platelets are low, your blood doesn't clot properly and that would have been critical for her.
"Obviously going forward as a small baby there could have been other complications so she got two transfusions of platelets and one blood transfusion.
"Without those she wouldn't be here either, so for both of us, it was life critical that we got the blood."
While donations are a lifeline for people who are very ill, only 6% of the population in Northern Ireland give blood.
Paul McElkerney form the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service told UTV: "We also need upwards of 8,000 new people to come forward each year and that's just to replace those people that have to retire from giving blood.
"Now giving blood is such an easy thing today, and literally within three to four days you will save somebody's life."
"You can directly make a difference and save somebody's life just by half an hour of your time so I would really say to anybody who was even thinking of giving blood just to pop down, there's lots of different blood donation sessions happening all over the country."
Fifteen months on, both Claire and Naomi have fully recovered and they hope their story will help to inspire others to give blood.
© UTV News