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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Pet and Animal Safety

Your pet may be your best friend and faithful companion, but Fido and Fluffy can sometimes carry bacteria which may be harmful to you and your unborn baby. However, there's no need to ship your furry, scaly, or feathered friends off to the pound just because you have a baby on the way. With some extra precautions and safety measures, you can maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your best friend throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

Some of the most common bacteria carried by animals include:

  • Dogs: Campylobacter, Salmonella

  • Cats: Toxoplasma gondii, Campylobacter, Salmonella

  • Birds: Campylobacter, Salmonella, Chlamydia psittaci

  • Reptiles: Salmonella

  • Farm animals: Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium

Campylobacter are bacteria that can be found in the intestinal tract of animals, in untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, and raw shellfish. Infection causes fever, stomach cramps, muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. While the bacteria themselves cannot cross the placenta and do not directly harm your baby, the dehydration resulting from the symptoms can cause miscarriage or preterm labor.

Chlamydia psittaci are intracellular bacteria that live within the respiratory system of birds and cause chlamydiosis, or parrot fever. You can become infected by inhaling the dust, dander, and nasal secretions of infected birds - especially parrots and turkeys. The flu-like symptoms that result from infection, including respiratory problems, pneumonia, muscle and joint pain, general malaise, and fever, range from very mild to life-threatening and are often misdiagnosed as influenza. C. psittaci can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. To prevent infection, have your vet examine your bird for signs of the bacteria, always wash your hands thoroughly with hot water after handling the bird or its cage, and avoid cleaning the bird cage. Running filters in your house can also help remove bird dust and dander from the air.

Cryptosporidium is one of the most common causes of waterborne diseases in humans in the United States and is found in the fecal matter of infected individuals and animals. You can get cryptosporidiosis from drinking infected water, changing a diaper or litter box, or eating unwashed, contaminated fruit. Infection causes watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, low-grade fever, dehydration, and weight loss. The symptoms of infection can cause miscarriage or preterm labor in pregnant women.

If you live or work on a farm, avoid working with silage (partially-fermented fodder) or at least wear gloves and wash your hands well after contact; avoid handling stillborn animals; and don't drink untreated water (if your water comes from a roof tank, well, bore, lake or stream, be sure to boil it well before drinking it).

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