My Health Advocacy Part 22

The Journey to Childbirth Chapter Two

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Disclaimer: today’s post isn’t meant to bash cats by any means, but it only talks about what Hazel needed to avoid during pregnancy and why. Personally, I used to have cats as pets but over the years I’ve become extremely allergic to them so I can’t have them in the household anymore. Anyway, on to the rest of the post.

Hazel had her share of medications that helped her pregnancy with Nixi along but she also had to make a few lifestyle changes. These changes were done to further lower the chances of miscarriage, to strengthen the baby, and to keep her immune system in tiptop shape.

One of the things that she was doing even before getting pregnant was to take Folic acid daily. This helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord. She did this religiously for so many years and continues to this day.

She was also told to avoid shellfish while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is to prevent any possible reactions that could affect her or Nixi since shellfish can have high toxicity and bacteria levels that can cause food poisoning.

I’ve had to modify the way I drive greatly because I had to be more careful to avoid bumps on the road. This was no small task in this country where roadworks that can take a few minutes in the First World can take weeks to get done here.

Because of how food is sourced and prepare in many places, Hazel wasn’t allowed to consume raw dishes such as salads, sashimi, rare to medium-rare steaks, etc. Having an upset stomach during pregnancy can be quite dangerous.

But one thing that the doctor specified, in particular, is to avoid cats. This is because of the risk of contracting Toxoplasmosis, a disease that is usually contracted by handling litter boxes or contaminated meat. About a third of the population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii and while most won’t show symptoms, those who do manifest as flu-like.

The danger to pregnant women is the ability of the parasite to cause birth defects and low birth weight. Not worth the risk at all.

Mind you, there are some studies that contradict the danger already but until proven that there’s absolutely no danger, we can afford the preventative route.

And so since there are cats in my parents’ home in Paranaque, we couldn’t visit there the entire pregnancy. We could only see my dad, brother, and sister-in-law outside and this was rarely. It was a bit of a heartache, but we would do just about anything for the health of Nixi.

To add to the problem, since I’m allergic to cats, there’s also a 50% chance that Nixi would be allergic as well. The same thing goes for dust, wool, pollen, and other allergens that affect me.

We do get to visit my parents’ home these days, but we still give the areas the cats frequent a wide berth just to decrease the chances of any allergic reaction. It’s one of many sacrifices we’ll be doing for Nixi over the years and, at least in this case, the cost isn’t that heavy.

To be continued.

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.

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