Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy

If you are expecting a baby then I am sure you heard about the risks of Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy (known as TOXO).
ginger cat

What is Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a single-celled parasite. The infection is most commonly acquired from raw or undercooked meat and rarely from direct contact with cats feces. The reason you heard about it is most likely only because you have a cat! Otherwise it would be just one out of thousands other types of infections and risks that everyone is facing. In US alone the estimation is that around 50-60 millions people carry this parasite, but usually our body protects itself and no symptoms are seen. As a matter of fact this parasitic is found in almost any warm-blooded animal (including of course human).

What are the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis ?

Adults that are infected by Toxoplasmosis will usually have the same symptoms as flu (from several days up to few weeks). The good news is that after having that once you will become immune. In rare cases mainly where there is a problem in the body immunity system (like in HIV) the symptoms can become much worse.

Is Toxoplasmosis dangerous to your fetus?

The answer is yes. Unborn Babies immunity system is weak so they are vulnerable. If you were infected short time before you are pregnant or during pregnancy, it can be transmitted to your baby and lead to severe damages (brain, deafness, blindness,…). If you are planning to become pregnant or just recently become pregnant make sure you are blood tested for Toxoplasmosis . If you had Toxoplasmosis infection more than 6 months before getting pregnant, then the chances are very low that it can be transmitted to your baby.

How can I avoid an infection?

While you are pregnant you can do a simple blood test to know if you are immune to Toxoplasmosis. If you are not, please make sure to follow the following guidelines in order to avoid Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy:
Don’t touch, eat or cook rare meet of any kind.
Try to prevent gardening work (in order to reduce the risk of touching animal faeces ) .
Don’t touch your cat litter box. Let somebody else do that when you are pregnant.
If you must do it – use nylon gloves.
Do not drink unpasteurized milk.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water throughout the day.

Return from Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy to Babies & Cats

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