What Is Toxoplasmosis? Get the Facts

There are a lot of pregnant women asking what is toxoplasmosis.

You should know that this is an infection that is caused by a microscopic parasite. Normally the infection is mild and symptomless. However during pregnancy the immune system is compromised and so the parasite could infect the placenta and the baby.

What Is Toxoplasmosis

Information about toxoplasmosis infection

Specialists believe that there are about 4 million births per year and about 400-4,000 children are born with congenital toxoplasmosis. The infection can be severe or mild and it could lead to stillbirth, long term neurological or structural damage and other devastating effects. The good news is that the infection can be avoided.

The risk of infecting the baby

When it comes to the infection of toxoplasmosis it is good to know that only about 15% of women are immune to the infection. Nonetheless there are only few pregnant women infected and the infection isn’t always transmitted to the baby.

If you are asking what is toxoplasmosis you should know that the risks of the baby being infected increase as the pregnancy progresses. If you get infected in the first trimester, the chances of the baby getting infected are of 15%. In the second trimester the risks increase to 30%.

In the last trimester the chances of the baby getting infected with toxoplasmosis is of 60%. Although the risks are higher in the later stages, the infection itself is more dangerous if it occurs during the first trimester.

It is interesting to know regarding what is toxoplasmosis that there are some chances of you to transmit the infection to the little one if you get infected a few months before you get pregnant. If you know that you were infected, it might be best to wait about 6 months before you get pregnant.

The spreading of the toxoplasmosis

According to specialists, usually the infections occur because of eating undercooked or raw meat. However you can also get the parasite if you eat unwashed food that was contaminated, drink contaminated water, handle cat litter, contaminated soil or milk and then you touch your mouth, eyes or nose.

The good news regarding what is toxoplasmosis is that it can’t spread from one person to the other. However there are some exceptions: it can be transmitted from the mother to the baby, through organ transplant or through blood transfusion.

Can you keep your cat?

Although you can get infected with toxoplasmosis while handling kitty litter, that doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of your cat. Nonetheless there will be need for some extra precaution. You should know that the cats are natural hosts of the parasite which reproduces in their intestines. The cats can get infected through the food that they eat or the water that they drink.

Now you know the answer to the question what is toxoplasmosis and you also know that this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a pet during your pregnancy. You just have to be careful with it so you won’t get infected.


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