Toxoplasmosis in Pregnant Women: The Effects of this Infection on the Fetus

Some of the congenital disorders in adults can be related to a condition known as toxoplasmosis. It is an infection caused by a parasite transmitted to humans from infected cats. If contracted by a pregnant woman it can result in serious damage to the fetus.

This parasite is contained in the oocyte excreted by a cat along with the feces. A pregnant woman may ingest the parasite by coming in contact with cat litters or even by consumption of unwashed vegetables and fruits grown from soil areas which may possibly be contaminated the oocyte.

When infected, this parasite attacks your heart, liver, the central nervous system, and the muscles. Symptom may include occasional fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. In a healthy adult, the infection may even go unnoticed. But in a pregnant woman, this parasite can cause serious harm to the fetus.

Transmission to the fetus happens if the pregnant woman had developed the infection less than six months before getting conceived. If this parasite attacks the fetus, it can result in serious consequences such as mental retardation, malformations, seizures, deafness, blindness, and even death. In rare cases, this infection can lead to retinal inflammation, and calcifications within the brain.

Toxoplasmosis often goes unnoticed during pregnancy. Some symptoms such as fever, rash, and liver and spleen enlargement are usually manifested in newborns though. However, more damaging symptoms including visual disabilities or even loss of vision can be seen in grown up adults. The severity of this infection is more if a woman becomes infected during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Therefore it is advisable that a woman goes through a screening before planning her pregnancy or at the early stage of pregnancy. Newborn babies should also be tested to detect the presence of this parasite so that the doctor will give toxoplasmosis treatments if detected. Early treatment is the key.

So, having known how serious toxoplasmosis in pregnant women can be, let’s now briefly discuss how to prevent toxoplasmosis.

First of all, avoid getting in touch with cat’s litter. If at all you are required to change the litter box, use gardening gloves. Moreover, you should properly wash fruits and vegetables.