Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis: Higher transmission risk for pregnant women
Pregnant women can become infected with toxoplasmosis more easily because of a weakened immune system. For this reason, it is important that preventive measures are taken to reduce the risk of infection with toxoplasmosis during pregnancy.
However, when pregnant women become infected, there are treatment options so that the unborn child is not infected. It only becomes problematic when the physician realizes that the unborn child is also infected. It does not have to mean that the unborn child will automatically suffer damage.
Causes of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis is a unicellular parasite - Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite is distributed worldwide; numerous humans and vertebrates are infected by him. About one third of the total population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii. However, the parasite only reaches its sexually mature form (end stage) in feline animals. For this reason, predatory cats and domestic cats in particular are classic end-users.
The parasite goes through numerous stages of development in the intestine of the cat, whereby the final product is excreted in the faeces (oocysts - toxoplasma eggs). The eggs can also be transferred to farm animals via the earth. Thus, toxoplasmas have already been detected in sheep, poultry, cattle and pigs.
Man is infected by oocysts, which are in the polluted soil or in the cat droppings. Occasionally, tissue cysts can also be found in semi-raw or raw meat. The main sources of infection are lamb and pork.
Toxoplasmosis in early pregnancy
Although pregnant women are more likely to become infected with toxoplasmosis, the likelihood of infection occurring during pregnancy is low. It should be noted that toxoplasmosis can harm the unborn child. Especially in the early stage of pregnancy miscarriages are possible.
Toxoplasmosis in advanced pregnancy
If the pregnant woman becomes infected at the later stage of pregnancy, the unborn child may develop hydrocephalus (so-called hydrocephalus). Sometimes there is also the possibility of brain damage. Damage to the eyes or damage to other organs is also possible. After birth, there are always babies who recognize no signs.
It may be that only with time (after several months or years) quite symptoms and symptoms occur that indicate a toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy. These include hearing problems, eye damage and learning difficulties. Sometimes, however, the infection can not cause any damage; However, the pregnant woman should not rely on her luck, but do everything possible to avoid infection.
Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis
If there is a suspicion of infection by toxoplasmosis, the physician first takes a blood sample. Those are examined for antibodies or antibodies. Based on the examination, the doctor can determine if the pregnant woman has been infected before or not. Sometimes the doctor can also determine the stage of toxoplasmosis infection.
If the pregnant woman has become infected, an examination of the amniotic fluid should take place subsequently. The sample gives an indication of whether the unborn child has become infected. As part of the pregnancy usually two mandatory examinations are performed, which are then documented in the mother-child passport.
Treatment & Effects for Mother & Child
If the pregnant woman has become infected for the first time during pregnancy, the doctor will first suggest treatment with antibiotics. The use of antibiotics prevents infection of the unborn child. Predominantly, pyrimethamine, spiramycin or sulfadiazine are used. However, other antibiotics may be given to prevent the unborn child from becoming infected.
As a rule, the antibiotic has no effect on the child. Of course, such treatments must be taken in consultation with the doctor. It is advisable, however, to maintain the course of antibiotics for at least four weeks, so that the infection can be completely destroyed or the infection is not transmitted to the child.
Prevention of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
It is important that the pregnant woman takes preventive measures so as not to become infected with the toxoplasmosis. So she should abstain from raw meat. Raw ham, Mett or tea sausage and Beef Tartar should be banned from the diet due to possible tissue cysts from Toxoplasma. Even tasting can trigger a contagion.
Raw sausages that have a very long maturation period (Parma ham, Prosciuotto, Serrano ham or even a salami) have a theoretical risk and should also be avoided. If you prepare pork or lamb, you should make sure that the meat is heated for several minutes - at least 70 degrees.
Furthermore, it is important to have good kitchen hygiene. Work surfaces and hands should be washed regularly. Furthermore, you should also wash the vegetables and fruits thoroughly before consumption. If you have domestic cats, you should avoid contact with cat droppings. For this reason, it is advisable to clean the litter box with gloves or to ask the partner to remove the feces.
Preventive measures help to protect against infection. Those who follow a few tips and tricks will certainly not have any difficulties during their pregnancy and need not be afraid to get infected with toxoplasmosis or harm their child.