Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy

image001 Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by microbial agents that may produce an almost symptomless disease process; however, during pregnancy such an infection is associated with extremely high rate of complications. Toxoplasmosis can be caused by specific foods or animal furs or handling of animal excreta. It is also transmitted by humans. The signs and symptoms of toxoplasmosis are so mild that often the disease may remain undetected for a long time. For example, according to the data reported by Center for Disease Control, more than 60 million people are silent carriers of this infection. In other cases, the infection symptoms may mimic other diseases, thereby keeping it hidden from identification. This is a particularly dangerous situation during pregnancy where the infection can result in serious complications with the baby.

What Is Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy?

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microorganism toxoplasma gondii. The key feature of this infection is the fact that it does not affect individuals with a healthy immune system (in fact most infections are asymptomatic); however, in individuals with transient or permanent immune deficiency, the infections can be life threatening. This disease has mild symptoms that are not even noticed at times in a normal person, but since pregnancy is a low-immunity state, toxoplasmosis may have devastating consequences.

One of the manifestations of toxoplasmosis is congenital toxoplasmosis, where the infection spreads to the fetus and can result in numerous physical abnormalities, stillbirths, neurological defects and other congenital problems. To prevent horrific consequence from this infection, mothers must take care of a few things and educate themselves about infectious diseases during pregnancy to be on the safer side.

Watch this video below that may help you in understanding toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy in greater details:

Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis symptoms usually mimic simple influenza infection or flu. For instance, headache, and muscle ache are experienced by the infected person in the early stages of infection. In addition, swollen glands and fever are also experienced along with skin rash and fatigue as the infection advances. Having said this, many will not even experience any sign of infection at all.

What Causes Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy?

Knowing what causes toxoplasmosis during pregnancy may help in devising preventive strategies to minimize the risk of infection. Toxoplasmosis is caused by toxoplasma gondii a parasite found in birds, food and human excreta. Many healthy individuals are immune to it or develop immunity after one exposure to the infection, but for pregnant patients it is important to take care of any doubtful signs or symptoms associated with the disease. If the infection spreads to the baby, it can cause sight disabilities and physical abnormalities that may even culminate in the death of a baby (before birth or after birth).

How to Diagnose Toxoplasmosis

If you think you may be suffering from this infection, arrange a visit with your doctor and go through the traditional testing (usually serological tests are the standard tests to diagnose whether or not you have an infection). If you do test positive with the antibodies to toxoplasmosis, then it is highly recommended to get your baby tested since the blood supply might have carried the parasite to your baby. To do this, the doctor will extract a small amount of fluid from the amniotic sac and test it for infection.

How to Treat Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy

Antibiotics are available to manage the infection and reducing the risk of complications in the pregnant mommy and unborn baby. It is very likely that despite an active infection, your baby may deliver absolutely normal (without any physical deformities); however, if your baby has antibodies, it is recommended to continue antibiotics in the baby for at least one year to reduce the recurrence of active infection.

How to Prevent Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy

Here are some simple preventive measures you can adopt to save yourself and your baby from toxoplasmosis.



Avoid uncooked food

Do not eat uncooked or partially cooked meat, especially during pregnancy. Uncooked meat cannot be guaranteed to be hygienic and there is no telling where the meat is from; therefore, it is better to stay away from such doubtful dietary resources. Try to completely cook frozen food.

Wash hands

Wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap before and after cooking. It is also advised to wash your hands after cutting raw vegetables.

Wear gloves during gardening

If you are into gardening, always wear gloves, and just to be safer, it is strongly advises to wash your hands after you have completed your activity.

Keep away from animal feces

Stay miles away from animal feces, and if you have a pet at your home, stay away from their litter boxes. Feces are an ideal place for toxoplasma microbes to grow and so they may even spread to you.

Wash raw foods before eating

Before eating anything raw such as fruits or vegetables, wash them thoroughly. Make sure you get under the leaves and any deep grooves or uneven surfaces.

Avoid unpasteurized food

Avoid unpasteurized dairy products such as cheese, spreads, milk or dishes made from unpasteurized food.

Be careful when farming

If you farm, do not hold young sheeps, since they are known to have toxoplasmosis, and stay clear from any animal droppings. Also, take a thorough bath after farming and keep this practice regular until pregnancy ends.

Check up your pet

If you have pet animals, get them tested just to make sure they are clear from any diseases, ask your vet to give your pet a thorough checkup and don’t feel shy to tell him about your suspicions.