Pregnancy and Toxoplasmosis


Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasmagondii that can threaten the health of an unborn child. You can get the infection from handling soil or cat litter that contains cat feces infected with the parasite. You can also get it from eating undercooked meat from animals infected with the parasite or from uncooked foods that have come in contact with contaminated meat. If you have been infected with Toxoplasma once, you usually will not become infected again.

What Are the Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis?

Because the majority of people with toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, it may be difficult to know if you have been infected. When symptoms do appear, they can resemble the flu and include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and swollen lymph glands.

What Can Happen if I Have Toxoplasmosis During My Pregnancy?

Women infected with toxoplasmosis can transmit the infection across the placenta to their unborn baby. Infection early in the pregnancy is less likely to be transmitted to the baby than infection later in the pregnancy. Early infection results in more severe symptoms in the baby than a later one. Most babies infected during pregnancy show no sign of toxoplasmosis when they are born, but they may develop learning, visual, and hearing disabilities later in life.

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