6 Hidden Home Hazards During Pregnancy

Is it safe to change the cat's litter?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection with symptoms that resemble the flu (fever, aching joints). In general, there are no lasting effects on the woman who contracts the toxoplasmosis. The bacteria that cause this infection are often found in animal droppings and raw meat.

Unfortunately, if passed to your baby, toxoplasmosis can lead to vision or hearing problems. To keep the infection at bay, ask your partner to clean your cat's litter box or pet cage during your pregnancy, and avoid undercooked meat. If you do develop the symptoms above, call your doctor. Early treatment with antibiotics can protect your baby.

Richard H. Schwarz, MD, obstetrical consultant to the March of Dimes, is past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn; and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cornell University Medical College, in New York City.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2006.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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