Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy – symptoms, prevention and treatment
Many pregnant women, instead of enjoying their excellent position, concentrate on diseases, sometimes extremely rare, like toxoplasmosis. In order to alleviate unnecessary anxiety and arm yourself with valuable recommendations for the prevention of toxoplasmosis, we will talk about this infection, its specifics during pregnancy, as well as discuss tests and treatment.
Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic (non-viral and non-bacterial) disease that causes the multicellular parasite Toxoplasma gonii. An extremely unpleasant infection to carry during pregnancy. The parasite lives and multiplies in the cat family, and other mammals, including humans, can be an intermediate host.
Toxoplasmosis is common in warm countries (South America, Asia), so for Russia it is considered a “forgotten” disease. However, 20% of the population of our country have the presence of antibodies-immunoglobulins in the blood, which indicates contact with this parasite in the past. For comparison, women in France in almost 80% of cases have antibodies to this microorganism. This is due to the fact that French women eat thermally unprocessed meat.
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
At first, toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic. A disease may not manifest itself at all for a long time. For this reason, routine screening is critical, which allows you to recognize the problem in advance.
In acute toxoplasmosis in pregnant women, symptoms similar to a number of other acute and chronic inflammatory processes are possible. However, symptoms may or may not be present depending on the stage of the disease. Among them are:
temperature increase to 38 and above;
nausea and vomiting;
gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea or constipation);
yellowing of the skin and eye proteins.
Toxoplasmosis analysis and treatment during pregnancy
In our country, a doctor takes an analysis of toxoplasmosis in each pregnant woman, since in the Soviet era a number of southern republics were at risk of infection. This means that there were children with malformations or intrauterine death of the fetus.
Many pregnant women, seeing the results of a blood test for toxoplasmosis, are horrified to see a plus on IgG. But do not worry. The result only says that there is immunity to this disease. There is no disease in the present that threatens the development of the baby. It is imperative to evaluate not only an IgG assay, but also an IgM assay. It is a positive result for the second analysis that speaks of the acute phase of the disease, which can harm the fetus. However, in the modern world, even with the acute phase of the disease and timely treatment, a healthy child is born without any complications.
Treatment is prescribed only by a doctor. In accordance with the result of the tests, he selects an antibacterial course of drugs that gives good results.
Consequences and disease statistics
My personal statistics confirm that only 20% of people in St. Petersburg have antibodies to the disease. For 14 years of practice and management of pregnancies, I have not met a single pregnant woman suffering from toxoplasmosis, with any serious consequences for the baby. In this regard, I will give you a little advice: During pregnancy, do not try to keep everything under close control, entrust the doctors with your pregnancy and the responsibility for the medical component, and concentrate on the pleasure of the wonderful moments that nature gives you, and fully enjoy preparing for motherhood.
Prevention of Toxoplasmosis
Observing the simple rules of personal hygiene, you protect yourself from becoming infected with this parasite, not only during pregnancy, but also in ordinary life.
Wash your hands before eating. Then oocysts (eggs of toxoplasma and other microorganisms) will be washed away from your hands.
When eating meat, it is better that it is properly thermally processed. Passion for carpaccio and tartar during pregnancy is excluded.
After contact with cats, especially if you cleaned the toilet for your pet, wash your hands.
Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. Especially if you live in a warm country or are on vacation there.