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5 Ways to Prevent Toxoplasmosis in Pregnant Women

Have you ever heard of a toxoplasmosis infection in pregnancy? Be careful, the infection is very dangerous for the fetus. Toxoplasma infection can cause blindness, nervous disorders, heart problems, and even interfere with the baby's brain development in the womb. Therefore, it is important for you to protect your pregnancy from the dangers of Toxoplasma.

Toxoplasmosis occurs due to Toxoplasma gondii parasitic infection. This disease is transmitted from animals to humans and cannot be transmitted between humans, except in pregnant women to the fetus they contain. Other causes of T. gondii infection are exposure to cat feces, eating raw foods and drinks, as well as through blood transfusions or organ transplants from parasite infected T. gondii. Although generally not dangerous, T. gondii infection can cause serious problems in pregnant women.

Dangers of T. Gondii Infection in Pregnant Women

T. gondii parasites can infect the placenta and the baby in the womb, increasing the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, brain damage, and other negative effects. Babies infected with T. gondii initially look normal, but some later can show symptoms of toxoplasmosis. These symptoms include eye infections, hearing problems, learning disorders, and growth and development become obstructed.

Women infected with T. gondii about 6-9 months before becoming pregnant generally do not risk transmitting this infection to the fetus. However, women infected with T. gondii during pregnancy have a high risk of transmitting this infection to the fetus through the placenta. Pregnant women who are at high risk of being infected with T. gondii are those who have a weak immune system and often interact with wild animals.




What treatment can be done if the test results are positive and not yet pregnant?

If you have experienced toxoplasmosis before becoming pregnant, actually when you get pregnant the fetus will be protected by your body's immune system. However, if you get infected during pregnancy or have just been infected a few moments before becoming pregnant, you can transmit this infection to the fetus, causing eye and brain disorders in the fetus. So, according to experts it is better if you are infected with toxoplasmosis, it's good if you postpone pregnancy for 6 months until completely healed.

If you are diagnosed with toxoplasmosis before pregnancy, your doctor may recommend toxoplasma treatment in the form of a combination of pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine drugs with additional leucovorin to prevent hematological toxicity due to pyrimethamine.

These drugs are first-line drugs. If you have allergies to drugs containing sulfa, sulfadiazine can be replaced by using clindamycin. The use of azithromicin can also be used as a combination drug in therapy, if you have contraindications to first-line drug choices. Treatment for toxoplasmosis can be taken for 6 weeks or depending on the advice of each doctor.

If you are pregnant and you have toxoplasmosis, what should you do?

There are two alternative treatments to fight the dangers of Toxoplasma. The choice of drug is determined by whether the fetus has been infected or not. If the fetus has not been infected, can be given spiramycin medication. This drug aims to prevent transmission from mother to fetus through the placenta.

However, if the fetus has been infected, there is a choice of pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine drugs. Pyrimethamine is an antagonist of folic acid. However, the choice of this drug is not recommended at the age of the first 3 months of pregnancy, because it can be toxic to the fetus.

Prevention of Toxoplasmosis in Pregnant Women

Before being infected with T. gondii, there are several ways you can do to minimize the risk of transmission of toxoplasmosis to the fetus:

1. Routine Hand Washing

Toxoplasmosis is not only transmitted through cats, but also other animals such as sheep, goats, dogs and other animals. That's the reason mothers are encouraged to routinely wash their hands with soap and running water, especially after touching animals and doing outdoor activities.

2. Wash Clean Food and Cookware

Try to always wash clean fruits and vegetables before processing and consuming them. Mothers are also encouraged to wash and cook all frozen food until cooked (especially meat) before consumption to reduce the risk of infection. After that, wash all cooking utensils that have been used thoroughly before reuse.

3. Avoid Consumption of Raw Food

For example meat and eggs, especially when pregnant. Signs of cooked to cooked meat are the appearance of clear and not red colored broth. Pregnant women also may not consume goat milk processed without pasteurization, including cheese, cream, or other processed products from similar milk.

4. Keep Cleanliness When Caring for Animals

If the mother keeps animals, such as cats or dogs, use gloves when cleaning the cage and dirt. Wash hands with soap thoroughly after cleaning dirt and cages, and after playing with pets. Avoid giving raw or undercooked food to pets, and do not allow pets to roam outside the house to avoid the risk of infections transmitted by rats or birds.

5. Toxoplasmosis examination before and during pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis examination before pregnancy is a toxoplasma IgM and IgG antibody test. IgM antibodies usually appear 5 days to several weeks, while IgG antibodies appear 1-2 weeks after the infection occurs. If you are already pregnant, toxoplasmosis testing is done by testing toxoplasmosis and amniocentesis antibodies. However, an amniocentesis test cannot be done if the gestational age is less than 4-18 weeks after the mother has been declared toxoplasm because it can cause false positive results.

It should be noted that storing food in the refrigerator, cooking using a microwave, and consuming smoked meat or dried meat cannot kill parasites, so it does not guarantee parasite-free food.





References

References

Montoya J, Remington J. Management of Toxoplasma gondii Infection During Pregnancy.

Paquet C, et al. Tozoplasmosis in Pregnancy: Prevention, Screening and Treatment.


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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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