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What is toxoplasmosis and how can I prevent it?

pregnant woman caressing a cat

The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is responsible for causing toxoplasmosis, an infection that can pose risks during pregnancy as it has the potential to penetrate the placenta and be transmitted to your baby. Taking precautions to prevent toxoplasmosis is important for both your health and your baby’s, particularly during the third trimester when the risk of infection is at its highest. Let’s explore some measures you can take to protect yourself and your baby.

How is toxoplasmosis transmitted?

Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through various means, such as consuming infected, raw, or undercooked meat, coming into contact with contaminated soil or cat litter and then touching your face, or through contaminated fruits, vegetables, and water. It’s important to note that not everyone who becomes infected shows symptoms, but some may experience flu-like symptoms.


If you suspect an infection, it’s advisable to visit your doctor for proper evaluation. What should I do if I have a cat at home?

If you have a cat, there are a few precautions you can take to minimize the risk of toxoplasmosis:

  • Avoid direct contact with your cat’s litter box. It’s best to have someone else clean it for you while you’re pregnant.
  • Feed your cat well-cooked food and refrain from giving them undercooked meat.
  • Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat or being near their litter box.
  • Prevent your cat from hunting and consuming potentially infected prey by keeping them indoors.

In addition to specific measures regarding cats, it’s important to follow general safety recommendations to prevent infections:

  • Wash your cooking utensils with hot water before preparing any dish.
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking or consuming them.
  • Practice regular hand washing, especially after handling raw meat or working in the garden. If you need to work in the garden, wearing gloves can provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly while cooking, as it can help prevent the transfer of potential contaminants.

While the overall infection rate of toxoplasmosis is low, it’s always better to be on the side of caution. By taking these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of infection and ensure the well-being of both you and your baby. Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for further guidance and support.

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