Pregnancy and pets

Pets make us happy, but during pregnancy there may be some precautions you need to take…

Some contact with pets can lead to serious infections that endanger the foetus’ health. If you want to have a problem-free pregnancy, read the recommendations below.

If you have dogs

Dogs don’t pose a risk to your pregnancy, but you still need to pay attention to the following:

  • Don’t let your dog jump on your abdomen;
  • Make sure its vaccinations and anti-parasite treatments are up to date;
  • If you are very close to your dog, ask your partner to start spending more time with it. This way, the dog will start getting used to the changes that will take place after your baby’s birth, when you won’t be able to spend as much time with them;
  • Prepare it for the contact with your baby. Let the dog enter the baby’s room and sniff its toys and clothes. Before leaving the maternity ward, ask your partner to bring the pet a piece of clothing or one of the baby’s blankets, so that they can sniff it. When you enter the house, it’s recommended that someone else carries the baby at first, not you.

If you have cats

With cats, you need to take much greater care during pregnancy, as there’s a risk of the baby becoming infected with the Toxoplasma Gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. The risk is even greater if the cat spends time outside the house. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Ask your partner to clean the litterbox and change the litter;
  • Keep the cat inside the house;
  • Avoid coming into contact with stray cats;
  • Wash your hands well after playing with your cat;
  • Don’t feed it raw food.

Toxoplasmosis is transmitted by contact with cat faeces and it’s not dangerous for healthy adults, but it can be very dangerous for the foetus. The consequences are very serious: premature birth, low birth weight, malformations and learning difficulties. At the beginning of the pregnancy, your doctor will recommend the TORCH test, which detects a series of infections, including toxoplasmosis. If the result says that you have been infected during pregnancy, it may be necessary to do an amniocentesis that can determine whether the infection has reached the foetus or not.

If you have guinea pigs or hamsters

Guinea pigs and hamsters can carry the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The infection with LCMV may result in miscarriage or serious congenital malformations and is transmitted through the bite of the animal, by contact with its poo, urine or blood, or by inhaling the dust in the cage.

Symptoms of the LCMV infection include:

  • Fever;
  • Headaches;
  • Intense fatigue;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Neck stiffness;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Lack of appetite.

You can help prevent an infection by the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus by taking the following safety measures:

  • Move your pets into a room where you don’t spend a lot of time;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching the animal;
  • Ask your partner to clean the cage and do so in a well-ventilated room or outside the house;
  • Don’t let the pet get close to your face.