Food Safety for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Keep Yourself and Your Baby Safe From Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. For most people, the body's immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.  However, if you become infected while pregnant, you can pass an infection to your unborn child, even if you are not ill. The best way to protect your unborn child is by protecting yourself against toxoplasmosis.

Follow this advice to prevent toxoplasmosis:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after touching soil, sand, raw meat, or unwashed vegetables.
  • Cook your meat, poultry, and seafood to the safe minimum internal temperature   Do not sample meat until it is cooked.
  • Wash all cutting boards and knives with hot soapy water after each use.
  • Cats can spread this parasite. Have someone else change the litter box if possible. If you have to change it, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards. 
  • Wear gloves when gardening or handling sand from a sandbox. Cats may use gardens or sandboxes as litter boxes. Wash hands afterward.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water, particularly when traveling in less developed countries.

Ask your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about toxoplasmosis and pregnancy.

Visit these websites for more information:

Before You're Pregnant - Toxoplasma (FDA)

Parasites and Foodborne Illness (FSIS)

Parasites: Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma infection) (CDC)

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