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    Does toxoplasmosis in cats cause miscarriages in women?

Posted on Tue, 18 Jul 2017 in Pregnancy
Question: recently my daughter in law mis cararried, they have cats in the house, I have heard that cats can cause problems with certain medical conditions is this so
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I am sorry about your daughter in laws miscarriage. That is hard.

What you may have heard about is toxoplasmosis. This parasite can be in cats' poop or the litter material where they poop. It's ok for a pregnant woman to be around cats but not the litter box. She should not change the litter box while pregnant but rather have someone else do it. Make sure the litter is changed daily because toxoplasmosis becomes infectious 1-5 days after it's shed in the cat's stool. Also take care with gardening (garden with gloves) because if cats have pooped there, it can spread from that too. And keep any sand boxes covered.

Cats become infected with this parasite by being allowed to roam outside and then eating wild birds or rodents that are infected with it.

Fruits and vegetables should be washed or peeled to prevent getting it too. Don't eat undercooked meat, and wash cutting boards well that have had raw meat on them. Also she should wash her hands well (regular soap and water) after handling raw meat.

She can check with her doctor as to whether it is warranted to do a blood test to see if she had been exposed (an antibody test to toxoplasmosis). But keep in mind miscarriages can happen for many reasons and it might not have had to do with toxoplasma at all. If it was related, it is recommended not to get pregnant again for 6 months. At that point the mother's immunity to it should be protective to the baby.

About 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester. Causes include chromosomal abnormalities (this accounts for approximately 60% of miscarriages), inadequate amount of progesterone, uterine abnormalities, some bacterial infections a woman may not be aware of such as ureaplasma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.

You and your daughter in law might want to take a look at a couple of books on the subject:
Preventing Miscarriage: The Good News (Collins 2005)
Miscarriage: Why it Happens and How Best to Reduce Your Risks (Perseus Book Group, 2003).

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions


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