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"Are there risks associated with contact with birds during pregnancy?"
My wife read that she should stay away from birds during her pregnancy. This seems kind of strange to me. Is this true? And what kind of contact?
The question of household pets and pregnancy is an important one which comes up a lot early in pregnancy. In general, your wife's OB GYN doctor is going to be her best resources, and she should always feel that she can call with questions whenever necessary. The major concern with pets is that they can sometimes pass an infection to the pregnant woman that can adversely affect the pregnancy. Fortunately, in the case of pet birds, this risk is pretty low. There are a few infections that birds can carry, but they tend to be sick at that the time and it is usually pretty obvious. Therefore, as long as the pet bird is up to date with their veterinarian checkups, there should be no problem. Wild birds, on the other hand, can be an issue - for example, pigeons and similar birds frequently transmit a fungal infection, called histoplasmosis, in their feces. Avoiding contained environments where there are a lot of bird feces is therefore a good idea. Your wife should also talk with her OB GYN doctor about other pet issues. For example, cats are known to transmit toxoplasmosis, which is which pregnant women should stay away from cat fecal material.
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