Toxoplasmosis will affect a few women during their pregnancy, but this is extremely dangerous. It involves a parasite, which will cause an infection. This is usually from handling cat feces but it can also come from eating meat that is undercooked and even just handling the utensils that were used for the meat.
Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy – Immunity
There are chances that your body has already been affected by the parasite. This is usually if you have a cat as a pet or had one in the past. If this is the case, then you may be lucky to find that your body has built up immunity to Toxoplasmosis. However, that does not mean that you should risk the chances of getting it.
Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy – Prevention
The best thing is for you to prevent the chances of picking up the infection. You can do this in a variety of ways, including having your partner or children cleaning out the cat litter tray. This is something that you should avoid doing from as early as six weeks pregnant.
You should also wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. This will help to avoid the chances of the parasite passing through accidentally. Washing the utensils and the surface that you prepare the meat on is also something that you should do.
When you do cook meat that is raw or has been chilled and frozen, you will need to ensure that they are cooked through. This is something that you should do anyway, to avoid getting food poisoning but is more serious when you are carrying a baby.
Cured meats also have a risk of toxoplasmosis so you should avoid eating these. This includes salami and any parma ham. The same goes for unpasteurized milk and cheeses – the most common is goat’s milk.
Knowing you are infected
Not all women will show the symptoms of having the infection and most of the time, the infection will be in your system for some time before the symptoms do show. Many of the symptoms are very similar to the flu, such as muscle aches and pains, tiredness and headaches. You may also find that your lymph nodes swell.
The harm to the baby
Being infected during pregnancy affects around one in 500 pregnant women. The percentage is so low that there are strong chances that you will not have this problem. However, it is important to know how it will harm your baby.
There are some serious problems linked to being infected while carrying and it can lead to a miscarriage. This is due to a few conditions that may happen in the early stages, such as water on the brain. Other problems, that may not cause a miscarriage, are damage to the eyes and other major organs.
There are usually no signs at birth and it is in later stages of the child’s life that the problems arise. These problems include constant infections in the eyes, hearing problems and even difficulties with learning. When the problems do manifest at birth, it is usually in the form of being blind or deaf; there are other babies that are born with brain damage and others that only survive for a few days – if they are not stillborn.