Pregnancy and Pets
Pregnancy with it brings a lot of concerns regarding the health of the baby and the mother. Special concerns exist especially related to your pets that you have loved and cherished for a long time but they might now pose some threats to you and your baby. Noted here are some of the threats and safety precautions which could and that should be taken when handling your pets whatever type or breed they may be. As an advice, start training your pets when you notice you’re displaying pregnancy symptoms or confirm that you’re pregnant.
PREGNANCY AND DOGS
Dogs do not really pose any danger to you or your baby, the only possibility is of your dog jumping on you while you are sitting or lying down. If you have a big or heavy dog and he is in the habit of jumping on you it’s time to train him against it.
Your dog could also be of concern when your baby arrives back home with you. Young kids are most likely the frequent victims of dog bites. A young child may be exploratory by nature and might poke or pull the dog’s eye or tail or sometimes crawl from behind which could startle the dog. These acts may trigger involuntary response from the dog in form of snip or bite.
This is what could be done to possibly overcome your dog’s behavior:
- You need to point out the habits of your dog that might be a problem when the baby arrives and start training you dog against them.
- It is good to give an idea to your dog of how things are going to be when the baby’s around, start changing your routine and let your dog know. You can use a doll in place of a baby and practice on a daily routine.
- Your dog should be trained to identify his toys away from the baby’s.
- Always dedicate some time especially for the dog as ignoring him completely will make him jealous and he would consider the baby as a rival. Introduce him in the play with the baby.
- Always keep an eye on the dog when with the baby.
- Never leave the dog and baby alone
PREGNANCY AND CATS
Toxoplasmosis is the infection that is transmitted through cats and is the only concern regarding cats. The feline feces carry this infection and stray cats are largely prone to carrying it rather than home cats.
If before pregnancy you are immune to toxoplasmosis it is fine for the baby. 15% women are already immune to this infection and also women who have been in contact with cats for a very long period may get immune to it.
This infection poses greater risk if mother gets in contact in the first 10 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. There is a 5 to 6% chance of developing low birth rate, premature birth, jaundice, fever, abnormalities of retina, mental retardation, convulsions, abnormal size of head and brain calcification. The risk of becoming infected is greater in the third trimester however the probability of damage to the fetus is lowest as it has been fully developed by then.
Avoid contact with litter and areas of garden where the cat bowels may be buried. To promote a healthy environment these measures can be taken.
- A simple blood test to check immunity to toxoplasmosis if you are a cat owner
- Wearing gloves during gardening
- Avoid contact with litter box. Give the job up in pregnancy
- Never leave a cat with the baby alone
Toxoplasmosis poses serious threats and if during pregnancy you get in contact with it there is an antibiotic to reduce the probability of harm.
PREGNANCY AND REPTILES/AMPHIBIANS
Turtles, lizards, iguanas, frogs, snakes etc all carry the Salmonella bacteria which poses threat to the pregnant woman and the baby. The newly born may even expose to these bacteria until the age of five as immunity is still developing in them. It is advised to send these pets away until the baby is five. If however a reptile is in the house these steps should be taken
- Never allow reptiles in the kitchen or other food preparation area.
- Never use kitchen sink as a washing place of the reptile and if you use a tub, bleach clean it every time.
- Never let the child handle the reptile.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after in contact with the pet reptile and its cage.
- Always restrict the reptile to its cage. It should not be left roaming about.
PREGNANCY AND BIRDS
A healthy bird is of no threat at all. Examine your bird from the vet as they may carry campylobacter, chlamydiosis or protozoal infections that are contagious to human health. Here are the safety steps to be taken
- Get your bird examined before conceiving
- Always wash hands with soap after contact
- Avoid cleaning the cage. Get someone else to do it.
- The bird should be kept away from baby products such as lotions powders etc as they may harm it.
PREGNANCY AND FARM ANIMALS
Listeria, campylobacter, salmonella and cryptosporidium are carried by farm animals and exposure may cause problems for the pregnant woman and baby. To create a safe environment you should
- Never participate in silage feeding
- Never handle still born animal babies
- Never drink untreated water, if you use a well have its water tested for any harmful compound present in it.
- Always use pasteurized milk
- Always wash hands with soap after contact with farm animals and there living areas.
More on pregnancy and pets here.