Are you pregnant or looking for a baby and do not know what to do with your pet? Do you fear that your living with animals will harm the baby or the normal development of your pregnancy? What are the risks and what can you do to prevent the spread of diseases?
Getting rid of your pet is not necessarily the best option if you are looking to get pregnant or if you already are. Not only because of the love you may have and how painful the separation is, but also because finding another family for your pet can be a complicated task and, most importantly, unnecessary.
It is true that some doctors or friends may suggest that you try to get away from pets, especially cats (because they can transmit a disease called Toxoplasmosis, which if contracted during pregnancy could be dangerous for the baby, although the mother does not have important symptoms), but it is not always necessary for you to do so. Another option is to take certain preventive measures and, above all, maintain hygiene and cleanliness.
If your pet is a cat …
Before you get anguished and get away from any feline that crosses you, it is preferable that you report well and, if you still have doubts, that you consult them with your trusted doctor so that you, your baby and your cat can maintain a healthy coexistence and happy.
As we discussed above, the main fear of cats comes from the possibility of getting Toxoplasmosis. In this case, you should bear in mind that only one in 50,000 pregnancies is affected by Toxoplasmosis, so the chances of getting infected are not that high. But as are serious sequelae that may occur to the baby in pregnancy in case the mother contracted this disease during pregnancy (can cause malformations in fetuses and even abortions, if the infection occurs during the first three months of pregnancy) , it is very important to take certain preventive measures to avoid it.
It is also important that you know that Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that is found in raw meats and in feces (faeces or fecal matter) of the cat. For this reason, contagion often occurs through food (and not through direct contact with the animal). So, it is recommended that you eat well-cooked meat and thoroughly wash raw vegetables, as well as avoid eating in restaurants or in places where hygiene is in doubt. Another thing, if you are going to consume reheated foods, be sure to boil them for at least 10 minutes before eating them.
Other measures that can help prevent the spread of Toxoplasmosis is to avoid getting in contact with cat droppings. Therefore, ask someone (other than a pregnant woman or anyone with a compromised immune system) to clean the cat’s sanitary space every day. If you must work in the garden, use gloves. Keep your cat inside your house (to avoid contagion when in contact with other cats), do not approach the street cats and always wash your hands well with soap and water after being in contact with the animal or your utensils.
Finally, keep in mind that the symptoms are usually mild, similar to a common cold, and it is possible that at some point in your life you have contracted this disease without noticing it. If this is your case, you are already immune to Toxoplasmosis and you should not worry during pregnancy. Therefore, if you are looking for a baby, you can ask your doctor to perform an immunity test (it consists of a simple blood test). In parallel, you can take your pet to the veterinarian to examine and apply all the necessary vaccines.
If your pet is a dog …
In this case there are no serious problems of contagion of diseases. With dogs, the main drawback may be jumping on the belly while playing, especially if it is a large dog. Therefore, it is important that you educate your dog to avoid that being too playful, can harm your pregnancy.
It is also recommended that before the arrival of your baby you teach your dog not to bite or jump on people. In the same way, take advantage of the pregnancy to distance yourself a little from it and avoid that the change is so abrupt when the baby arrives and you stop paying attention to take care of your newborn. It is important that your dog has all his vaccinations up to date, and that you groom him frequently to avoid fleas (which can also transmit diseases).
With these tips you can start preparing yourself for a harmonious coexistence between all the members of the family, including your pets and your baby. And if you have any doubts, do not forget to tell your doctor that you have pets at home, so he can advise you on everything you need.