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Pet safety for expectant moms

Photo: Eva Blanco/iStockphoto

For many people, pets are family. But if you’re pregnant, it’s important to know how to protect yourself around pets.

The March of Dimes Foundation says that dogs generally are safe for pregnant women to be around. However, the MDF recommends you:

  • Don’t allow your dog to jump on your stomach.
  • Nip bad habits, including biting and jumping, in the bud before your baby arrives.
  • Keep your dog up to date on vaccinations.
  • Have your partner spend more time with your dog before your baby arrives to reduce jealousy issues.

If you have cats, it’s slightly more complicated. The MDF notes that pregnant women need to be careful when handling a cat because of the risk of toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection. It’s often carried by cats and can pass through their waste into kitty litter. You also can get toxoplasmosis from eating undercooked meat, especially pork. Therefore, if you’re pregnant and own a cat, the MDF suggests you:

  • Designate a family member who isn’t pregnant to clean the litter box.
  • Keep your cat indoors and away from stray cats.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands if you come in contact with cat waste.
  • Never feed your cat undercooked meat.

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