How to stay healthy around pets and other animals while pregnant
Did you know that pregnant people are more likely to get sick from certain germs animals can carry? Some of these diseases can cause pregnancy complications like birth defects. The good news is there are easy ways to stay healthy around animals – just follow the tips below.
Pick the right pet
Wait to adopt a new cat or pet rodent until after your pregnancy.
- Cats, especially kittens, can carry a parasite in their poop that causes toxoplasmosis—a disease that can cause birth defects.
- Rodents (like mice and hamsters) can carry lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which can cause birth defects.
If you already have pets
If you’re pregnant and already own a pet rodent or cat, you don’t need to rehome your pet. Making some small adjustments to your routine can help keep you safe from illness.
- Avoid handling cat litter during your pregnancy. Have someone else in your household change cat litter. If that’s not possible, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands after handling litter.
- Avoid direct contact with your rodent and its habitat during your pregnancy. If possible, have someone else in your household care for the rodent. If that’s not possible, wash your hands after handling the rodent or its supplies.
- Always wash your hands after handling any pet, pet food or treats, or pet supplies.
Protect your health around all animals
- Wash your hands. Whether playing with, feeding, or cleaning up after an animal, always wash your hands after.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly. Keeping your pet healthy keeps you healthy.
- Avoid contact with wild animals, especially rodents. Don’t let pets come in contact with wild animals.