Toxoplasma gondii is also found in raw meat and soil, so there are a few precautionary measures you need to take to prevent contracting toxoplasmosis during your pregnancy:
- Ask someone else to empty the litter box. If you really cannot avoid doing it yourself, wear rubber gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards with plenty of soap.
- Wear gloves for gardening and wash well after touching soil.
- Never eat raw or undercooked meat and always wash your hands and all kitchen surfaces and utensils after contact with raw meat.
- Thoroughly wash fruit and vegetables to avoid the possibility that you will ingest soil.
Toxoplasmosis is like chicken pox: Once you get it, you're immune for life. If you're a long-time cat owner, you may have already been exposed. A simple screening test can indicate whether you're immune—just ask your doctor whether you're a candidate for screening.
Get the Lead Out
I know lots of women who, driven by that legendary nesting instinct, were bursting with energy during their pregnancies. One of them actually wove her own throw rugs for her baby's nursery, while another fashioned an elaborate origami mobile in anticipation of the new arrival. If you're go-getter and feel the overwhelming desire to redecorate, weave and fold all you like. But be sure to steer clear of the paint.
If you're working on an older home, you run the risk of coming into contact with paint chips containing lead. Prenatal exposure to lead can cause premature birth and lead to smaller stature and impaired mental development in babies. For less than ten dollars you can purchase a lead test kit from a hardware store or over the Internet, making a lead test a small investment in peace of mind. Even though paints purchased today are lead-free, some contain chemicals believed to be harmful to a growing fetus. As a result, most doctors recommend that pregnant women leave the painting to someone else.