Pregnancy, Babies and Cats

Tools

Story Updated: Dec 26, 2012

Pregnancy is a time of joy, but for many women, a time of unprecedented worry. Along with the admonitions about caffeine, lunchmeat and wine, many pregnant women are told they should get rid of their cats because of health risks. With a few basic safety precautions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that pregnant women do not need to give up their cats.

Most concerns about cats have to do with an organism called Toxoplasma gondii, a microscopic parasite carried by cats. If a woman is exposed to the organism for the first time during pregnancy, the organism can pass to her unborn baby and cause severe medical problems.

When a cat is first exposed to the Toxoplasma organism, it sheds the organism in its feces for approximately two weeks. Once shed in the feces, it takes one to five days before the organism develops into the infectious state. After that single period, they are no longer infectious.

Women who have been exposed to Toxoplasma before becoming pregnant are not at risk of infecting the baby. A blood test exists to determine if you have been previously exposed. In order for a woman to pass on Toxoplasma to her baby from her cat, both the cat and the woman must be exposed for the first time during the woman's pregnancy.

Common sources of infection include undercooked meat, unwashed produce and ingestion of oocytes (the infectious agent) while gardening -- usually not from the family cat.

If you are pregnant, here are some of the basic steps recommended by the CDC to minimize exposure to Toxoplasma:

  • Change the cat litter daily. Better yet, have a housemate take over litter duties for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Cook meat thoroughly.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after gardening.
  • Avoid feeding your pet raw meat.

Add a comment

Name:

Comment: 250 Characters Left

WBNG and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.

Featured Professional

Ophthalmology

Guthrie Specialty Eye Care



Interviews with Dr. Lester McDonald
Interviews with Dr. Chaudhri

Guthrie Specialty Eye Care is proud to offer a wide range of comprehensive eye care services from basic eye health screenings to some of the most sophisticated eye surgical procedures available.

Guthrie Specialty Eye Care offers you six convenient locations, with six board-certified ophthalmologists, nine therapeutic optometrists and more fellowship-trained sub-specialists than any other eye care provider in the area.

Comprehensive services include cataract surgery, cataract surgery with Crystalens HD, corneal implants, diabetic eye care, dry eye care, macular degeneration, retinal detachments and disorders, eye infections, glaucoma, muscle surgery (cross eyes), and pediatric ophthalmology.

Cataract Surgery is one of the most common eye services available. Guthrie now has options that include Crystalens.

To learn more about Crystalens or other Guthrie Specialty Eye Care services, please log on to www.guthrie.org/eyes.

Guthrie Specialty Eye Care – Committed to Quality – Experience You Can Trust