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Should Pregnant Women Keep Away From Cats?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Question: My daughter in law is pregnant. I just learned that she has been taking care of her friend's cats all week because she mentioned to me that the house stinks, the cats have thrown up repeatedly, and that she does not like cats. I nearly freaked. I'm 64~I raised three sons. I have ALWAYS heard that pregnant women must stay away from cat litter! Should I insist that she be tested for toxoplasmosis? I read that it can be treated, but that it can cause terrible problems if the fetus is infected. I am very upset. Maybe first have the cats tested to see if they have it? cerebal palsy, loss of vision and hearing...
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Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham (20 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
AS BELOW

Detailed Answer:
Hello
Thanks for writing to us with your health concern.
How many weeks pregnant is she now ?
Yes, pregnant women should avoid cat litter.
IT should NOT be handled by them, and if done under dire emergency, proper hygienic precautions have to be followed.
Was this done ?
Also during the early part of the pregnancy, if the woman is infected, chances of the baby acquiring infection are only 1 %, while in the third trimester, it is close to 70 %.
There is no point in testing the cats, as there are various stages of the infection, and at all times the cat, even if infected, might not test positive.
Your daughter in law should definitely be tested right away, and again after 3 weeks too.
It can be treated for sure, and as I said, the spectrum of changes in the baby depend on when she got infected.
All the best
Please feel free to discuss further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Answered by
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Dr. Aarti Abraham

OBGYN

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 6005 Questions

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Should Pregnant Women Keep Away From Cats?

Brief Answer: AS BELOW Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for writing to us with your health concern. How many weeks pregnant is she now ? Yes, pregnant women should avoid cat litter. IT should NOT be handled by them, and if done under dire emergency, proper hygienic precautions have to be followed. Was this done ? Also during the early part of the pregnancy, if the woman is infected, chances of the baby acquiring infection are only 1 %, while in the third trimester, it is close to 70 %. There is no point in testing the cats, as there are various stages of the infection, and at all times the cat, even if infected, might not test positive. Your daughter in law should definitely be tested right away, and again after 3 weeks too. It can be treated for sure, and as I said, the spectrum of changes in the baby depend on when she got infected. All the best Please feel free to discuss further.