If you have toxoplasmosis within 6 months of getting pregnant, you may be able to pass it to your baby during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis can cause pregnancy complications such as preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks) and stillbirth. The earlier in pregnancy you get infected, the more serious the baby’s problems may be after birth. For example, a baby could have a birth defect called microcephaly or vision problems.
Do you need to find Mr. Whiskers a new home?
The good news is that your cat can stay. But, you should have your partner, a friend, or family member change your cat’s litter for you. If you must change it yourself, be sure you wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Is it just Mr. Whiskers? Or are there other ways to get toxoplasmosis?
You can also come in contact with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis through:
- Eating raw or undercooked meat – be sure to cook meat thoroughly and wash your hands after handling raw meat.
- Eating unwashed fruits and vegetables – peel or thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Touching kitchen utensils and cutting boards used to prepare raw or undercooked meat and fruits and vegetables – clean cutting boards, work surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water after using them.
- Touching dirt or sand – use work gloves when gardening and be sure to wash your hands afterward. Stay away from children’s sandboxes as well.
Pregnancy is a time of many changes, and it’s also a time to ask for help when you need it. Mr. Whiskers won’t mind that someone else is changing his litter box so that you can protect yourself during pregnancy.
For more information on toxoplasmosis, see our web article.