Thursday, May 08, 2008

on toxoplasmosis

After my last post, I received several comments and emails about toxoplasmosis. I was kind of surprised at first, but then I realized that since I'd wanted to put a lot of info in that post, I didn't really go into details, preferring to let the diary format stand on its own. Now I can see that it seems like I'm still floundering around, wondering what my body is doing/has done.

I've been aware of toxoplasmosis since my first pregnancy, which started last November, thanks to three different pregnancy publications (two in French) and a couple of pregnancy websites (one of which is in French). I found out that I was not immune from my very first blood test and set out to avoid everything under the sun that could potentially harm the baby, from cats to dirt. I find it very strange that I had never contracted it in the first place, since I got my first cat at 14 and had another cat as an adult. One of my favorite sayings of my Grandmother is "Nobody ever got into Heaven without eating a little dirt first" and I reckon I've probably ingested enough in my lifetime to fill a flower pot.

The irony about toxoplasmosis is that if you're not pregnant and contract it, you probably won't even notice it. It only becomes dangerous when you are pregnant, so it's best to avoid cats (and then if you have a cat, it's best to let someone else clean the litter box), shellfish (in order to avoid that one shrimp that was undercooked), unpasteurized cheeses, smoked meats and fish, any meat that hasn't been cooked all the way through, and fruits and veggies that haven't been carefully washed. Of course, some of these are not good during pregnancy anyway. Once you've contracted toxoplasmosis, your body develops antibodies which protect your unborn child - you're considered immune.

Now, whether or not toxoplasmosis caused my miscarriage, well, it's hard to say. I had a blood test two days before I miscarried that said I did not have toxoplasmosis, but the detailed test that was done a couple of months ago confirmed that I caught it before this pregnancy. There is a relatively short amount of time between the time I miscarried and became pregnant again, so who knows?

The good news is that I'm now considered immune and can relax a little bit with the vigilance. I may even partake in a bit of seafood when we get down to Spain, if my Super Pregnancy Sensors indicate that it seems alright (believe me - they are real!). Of course, that doesn't mean that I can indulge in the really good French foods - stinky cheese and foie gras are right out. Guess I'll have to wait for Christmas before I get to taste those delicacies again!

No comments: