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There are many things that you would not normally give a second thought to, that become a great worry once you are pregnant. Toxoplasmosis is one of those things. This parasitical infection is spread through uncooked meat, contaminated water or by touching cat litter. It's normally harmless, but toxoplasmosis can be extremely dangerous for unborn babies. Depending on the severity of the infection, it can be responsible for miscarriage, birth defects or stillbirth. What can you do to avoid toxoplasmosis in pregnancy, and how do you know if you have been infected?

Whenever you hear about toxoplasmosis, you hear about cats and cat litter in particular. It is true that this infection can be contracted by cleaning out cat litter and then not washing your hands. But that does not mean that cats are a great danger to any pregnant woman - it just means that you have to be aware of what toxoplasmosis is, and what you can do to protect yourself against it. First of all, not every cat is infected, but they do easily catch it by eating uncooked meat, such as a mouse they've killed, or raw milk and contaminated water. If you have a cat, you can avoid catching toxoplasmosis by having someone else clean the litter tray, or if you have to do it, wearing gloves and still washing your hands really well immediately afterward. Keeping your cat in your home, and making sure they just eat commercially product cat foods also protects you, because your cat is unlikely to be infected under those circumstances.

The same goes for yourself to a large extent. Refrain from drinking raw milk. Uncooked, or undercooked meats are also on your list of what not to eat during pregnancy, and make sure your source of drinking water is reliable. Also avoid working in the garden with your hands, and other activities that might bring you into contact with the parasite. The only way to find out you have been infected is through testing, so doing everything in your power to avoid toxoplasmosis is well worth it during pregnancy. If you are worried you might have been exposed, ask for testing at your next prenatal appointment.

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