What is toxoplasmosis and how does it affect pregnancy?

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease, caused by a microscopic organism called "toxoplasma gondii" hence its name. Anyone can get this infection, but when it comes to a pregnant woman the risks can be fatal. Therefore, it is very important to prevent infection by avoiding the consumption of certain foods that may contain the protozoan that causes the infection.

This is because the parasite causing the infection can cross the placenta and infect the fetus, which would cause a congenital infection, that is, before birth. If this occurs during the first weeks of pregnancy, the fetus can suffer various disorders in its development, with the worst consequences. Here we tell you everything you need to know about toxoplasmosis and how it affects pregnancy.

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

During the pregnancy It is necessary to follow certain guidelines and recommendations regarding food and other habits, since there are various risks for the development of the fetus. One of them is toxoplasmosis infection, a disease that can be contracted in several different ways.

  • Through the consumption of meat little or poorly cooked and containing the parasite.
  • By remnants of the parasite that may be present in cat feces.
  • By contagion to across the placenta from mother to fetus.

That is, toxoplasmosis not spread from person to person, except during pregnancy. And due to the added problem that there is still no vaccine today, it is essential to avoid contagion during pregnancy. In this way, important risks are avoided in the development of the fetus. Especially during the first weeks of pregnancy, where the risk to the fetus is even greater.

Risks to the fetus

Toxoplasmosis can be more or less serious for the fetus, especially in the first weeks or until the third trimester. Among the possible consequences that can occur when contracting the infection for toxoplasmosis are the following.

  • Low birth weight, which is known in medical terms as growth retardation.
  • Vision problems, including the blindness.
  • risk of miscarriageespecially in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Toxoplasmosis can also affect the development of the central nervous systembrain, hearing, liver, spleen, lymphatic system and even the lungs.
  • Anemia.

The symptoms can be very different in each case, what does occur frequently is the delay in diagnosis once the baby is born. Generally They are not appreciated with the naked eye and they appear as there are delays or disorders in the growth of the baby. The only way to detect toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy is through amniocentesis, an intrauterine test that is performed when there are signs of this and other problems.

Prevent toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Immunity and sensitivity to toxoplasmosis can be detected in clinical tests carried out from the start of pregnancy, which does not prevent it from being contracted throughout pregnancy. To avoid this, you should follow the advice of your midwife, which will be the following in general.

  • Do not eat meat that is not perfectly cooked and/or previously deep-frozen.
  • Avoid foods that are consumed raw, such as sausages or carpaccio.
  • take only milk and derivatives that are pasteurized. Which means that you can not take meringue or products that contain raw egg.
  • If you have cats, you just have to avoid contact with feces which is where remains of the parasite are found in case the animal has eaten other raw animals and has become infected.

This doesn't mean you should walk away from your cat, just stop cleaning your cat's litter box and let other people do it. And if you are going to eat out, make sure you choose well-cooked products, avoid raw vegetables in case they are not very clean and most importantly, enjoy your pregnancy.

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