If you change cat litter, work in a garden, or eat raw meat, you're at risk for a toxoplasmosis infection, unless you're already immune. This infection is caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Although it poses little risk to you, you could pass the infection on to your unborn baby, with serious consequences that include severe illness or death. Talk to your provider about your risk factors and testing. The test results may be difficult to interpret, so your doctor may send you to a specialist. If an infection is confirmed, you can be treated with antiparasitic drugs to lower the risk to your baby.
How do you know if you have toxoplasmosis? You probably won't detect it on your own, although some people experience symptoms similar to the flu. That's why it's important to let your practitioner know if you have risk factors. Your practitioner may do a blood test to see if you've been exposed to the parasite, and he will repeat the blood test if necessary. To avoid toxoplasmosis in pregnancy:
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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