7 guidelines to prevent toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common infections worldwide, but if it affects a woman during pregnancy, the baby's health can be at serious risk. It is a disease that has no symptoms and can go completely unnoticed. Active infection only occurs once in a lifetime and, from that moment, antibodies are generated that make us immune to a new infection.
Toxoplasmosis infection is acquired by eating raw or undercooked meat, or by coming into contact with fecal matter in cats.
How to prevent toxoplamosis in pregnancy
Prevent infection is possible, with these 7 guidelines to prevent toxoplasmosis in pregnancy, which consist simply of carrying out strict hygiene and cleaning rules in the handling of food and in living with cats:
1. Use gloves in the garden or in any activity in which land is handled is essential to prevent toxoplasmosis.
2. Always wash your hands with soap and water after being in contact with soil prevents infection by toxoplasmosis. Do not forget to do it also under the nails.
3. If we prepare raw meat, wash all utensils with hot water and soap that have been in contact with the meat, to avoid contaminating other foods.
4. Wash with water and a few drops of bleach vegetables and fruits prevents toxoplasmosis in pregnancy.
5. Cooking the meat to a point where the center is no longer pink. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat during pregnancy.
6. Do not empty or clean sand trays with cat stools, that someone else does to avoid toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy. The tray should be cleaned daily since the parasite does not become infectious until after 24 hours.
7. Leave the cat indoors to prevent it from eating infected animals or coming into contact with the toxoplasmosis parasite on infected soil.
Treatment for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
When there is a suspicion that the pregnant woman is infected with toxoplasmosis, it is necessary to carry out a specific analysis controlled by a laboratory specialized in the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis to avoid false results.
If detected in the first trimester of pregnancy, the infection can be treated with an antibiotic that reduces by 60 percent the possibility of transmitting the infection to the fetus. It is also indicated to practice an amniocentesis that confirms if the fetus is infected. If the result is positive, it must be the doctor who determines if a treatment is administered to reduce the severity of the disease in the baby.
Dr. Juan Luna.Head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of the Hospital La Milagrosa, Madrid.