My Sanford Chart allows you secure online access to your personal health information and your child's health information. It's available anywhere you have internet access. There is no cost to you and registering is quick and simple.

Sign Up for My Sanford Chart

Avoiding Sources of Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis is an infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Once you have had it, you cannot get it again. This is because your body has learned how to fight it off (immunity).

People usually become infected by eating food that contains the parasite (such as undercooked meat from an infected animal) or by handling an infected cat's feces or touching surfaces contaminated by them.

Many women have had toxoplasmosis (usually without any symptoms) before they become pregnant. If a woman becomes infected during pregnancy, her fetus may also get it. This can lead to eye and brain damage.

Avoiding contact with Toxoplasma gondii is key to preventing fetal infection during pregnancy. If you are not immune to Toxoplasma gondii or don't know whether you are immune, you can drastically reduce your risk of infection if you:

  • Avoid cat feces, in both the home and the garden.
    • If you have a cat, have someone else clean the cat litter box while you are pregnant and preferably 2 months prior to conceiving. If you must do so yourself, wear gloves and a face mask, and wash your hands afterward.
    • When gardening or handling soil, wear gloves, and wash your hands afterward.
    • Wash all foods that could have had contact with cat feces, including commercial fruits and vegetables.
    • Make a habit of washing any table or counter surfaces that a cat may have walked across.
  • Eat only well-cooked or previously frozen meat. Avoid dried meats and meat from wild game. Sustained high or low temperatures are necessary to kill Toxoplasma gondii in meat.
  • Carefully wash your hands and all utensils after preparing raw meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, or vegetables.

If you have lab results that confirm your immunity to Toxoplasma gondii, you do not have to take special preventive measures during pregnancy. For more information, see Toxoplasmosis Test.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 23, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.