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Can any midwives/Drs reassure me? I went to a lambing barn today & didn't realise I shouldn't!

(18 Posts)
llamallama Sat 16-Mar-13 19:12:49

Google is not helping me on this one!

I'm 28 weeks and went to a lambing barn today. We watched lambs that had literally just been born. We were there about 45 minutes but I didn't touch any of the sheep or lambs. All the animals were in pens and we were just looking from outside the pens.

I washed my hands as soon as we left.

I knew that pregnant women shouldn't touch sheep (though wasn't really sure why) so avoided any contact. But since coming home I mentioned it to a friend and she has freaked me out saying that I shouldn't have gone at all. So I googled it. And that was a mistake!

The nhs website seems to suggest infection risk is low and associated with contact.

Ok so I can't go back in time and not go. So please don't panic me about that. What should I do now? Ask for a blood test from the GP perhaps?

If anyone can reassure me or help with possible next steps?!?

LoveMyBoots Sat 16-Mar-13 19:20:08

I'm not a medical professional, but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can help. I would have thought the stress from panicking would be worse for you & the baby.

Just to add, I accidentally ate unpasteurised cheese when pregnant, and worried until my DC was born. The baby was fine.

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Sat 16-Mar-13 19:25:02

The risk is very very low. Most farms open to the public tend to vaccinate their sheep anyway, reducing the risk even further. It's only pregnant sheep that are a risk, not new lambs. If the lamb has been born safely, the mum didn't carry any disease.

You could phone the farm tomorrow and ask if they vaccinate and ask if they've had any miscarrying ewes (which is where the danger lies).

FWIW I'm a doctor and took my son to feed lambs today. No pregnant ewes around though, I did check first.

Plenty of stuff to worry about in pregnancy isn't there?!

Exhaustipated Sat 16-Mar-13 19:26:01

I did this exact thing at this time last year. DD (7 months ) is sitting beside me smile

It's really OK. As long as you didn't touch them and then ingest anything (which you didn't) you'll be fine.

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Sat 16-Mar-13 19:27:23

Oh, I'm 36+ weeks btw.

llamallama Sat 16-Mar-13 19:33:32

Thank you, good idea about contacting the farm.

They didn't have any notices up advising pregnant women not to enter the barn, though I now know that they should have.

There were pregnant ewes in the pens too, it was all the sheep waiting to lamb, some just had and several with their lambs already born. So a mixture of expecting sheep and new mums!

So worse case scenario....the sheep would have had to have been infected, then I would have had to touch them and then catch the infection myself, right? I have had a shower and washed all the clothes I was wearing and plan to disinfect my shoes too. Anyone know how "infectious" the infection is as it were? I gather it's not air born so I'm hoping with no contact I have reduced the risk?

Oh crap.

I hadn't heard of this risk when I was pg and camped for a weekend in a field full of ewes and new lambs when I was about 12 wks ish. Cooked and ate outside, sat surrounded by lovely gambolling new lambs! I panicked like mad when I found out later about the risks.

DS is 4 now. I'm guessing you will be absolutely fine.

llamallama Sat 16-Mar-13 22:02:31

Anyone else around who can help?

Bue Sat 16-Mar-13 23:16:03

The risks are infinitesimally small. Seriously, it's not even worth worrying about it.

Here's more from the Health Protection Agency:
^How common are these infections in pregnant women?

Chlamydophila abortus: Human infection with C. abortus infection from ewes appears to be very unusual, and very few infections are reported each year in pregnant women in England and Wales. No recent cases of chlamydiosis (including psittacosis) have reported either contact with sheep, or occurrence in pregnancy.

Listeriosis: There are 20-30 cases reported per year in pregnant women in the UK, however it is unknown what proportion, if any, are due to contact with sheep.

Q fever: Q fever is an uncommon disease in the UK. No recent cases are known to have occurred in a pregnant woman.

Toxoplasmosis: Historicaly in the UK approximately 2 per thousand pregnancies were affected by toxoplasmosis, with transmission to the unborn baby in ~40% of these cases. It is unknown what proportion, if any, are due to sheep contact.^

bogwoppitinatree Sat 16-Mar-13 23:57:40

Don't worry! Toxoplasmosis is contact based so if you didn't touch anything you don;t need to worry.
Chlamydiosis is air born but only a risk factor if a ewe has aborted and is very short lived.
I work on farms and have researched extensively and am not worried at all, provided I keep clean, etc.
Ring your midwife if you get any symptoms of fever or sickness. Otherwise remember that pregnancy is natural and farmers wives have been doing it for thousands of years smile

RoseGarden123 Sun 17-Mar-13 08:52:11

Risks are very small as a wife of a farmer who is currently lambing it is not something I worry about with any of my pregnancies. I avoid the hands on stuff as pre-caution but really don't be too concerned. It sounds as if you were sensible and it just is one of those over hyped risks.

RoseGarden123 Sun 17-Mar-13 08:52:13

Risks are very small as a wife of a farmer who is currently lambing it is not something I worry about with any of my pregnancies. I avoid the hands on stuff as pre-caution but really don't be too concerned. It sounds as if you were sensible and it just is one of those over hyped risks.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Sun 17-Mar-13 08:58:34

What the last two posters said. You'll be fine. Pregnant women are advised not to help with lambing or handle overalls soiled during lambing, but AFAIK that's it. You didn't touch anything. I genuinely don't think just being in the barn will have been a problem.

Most people who get toxoplasmosis get it from undercooked meat; the risks from cats are small (albeit precautions sensible), never mind from sheep/lambs. Listeriosis is normally from ingesting something.

llamallama Sun 17-Mar-13 09:20:52

Thank you ladies. That's what I needed to hear (thankfully) obviously I won't go again but was getting myself a little worried last night.

I guess it's like anything when there is a small risk, if you avoid completely then the risk is nill so I'm guessing that's why advice is to avoid completely.

As far as I can tell it seems risk is associated with touching the afterbirth etc which I didn't do, I didn't even stroke a sheep let alone anything else. So I'm more reassured now that I will be fine. Though there is nothing much I can do now anyway to be fair.

Thank you for taking the time to reply

SeriousStuff Sun 17-Mar-13 23:38:39

If you didn't touch anything, you should be fine. We live in the countryside, and there are sheep and lambs surrounding our house at the moment. My Aunt has a farm and had her daughter one year in July, so she would have been around 5 months during lambing season, and when you live on a farm, they're very hard to avoid!

Longfufu Mon 18-Mar-13 12:56:33

Hi OP, I read your post this morning and pure dread set in...yesterday DH and I took DS and next doors DD to a open working farm for a lambing day. I'm 19 weeks pregnant. Both children where thick as thieves and completely covered in mud (thankfully we had overalls) I was covered in mud after picking them up etc, no soap to wash our hands, we even touched the animals and ate (after using baby wipes to clean our hands and wrapped the sausage in a bun in a napkin).... so far worse than you!

Anyway, I booked an emergency appointment with Dr after reading things on google etc.. He said that it was really nothing to worry about, it was a one off! If I did it daily and had cuts on my hands then it may be a problem.

It was a one off OP don't worry, I'm not. x

llamallama Wed 20-Mar-13 13:14:02

Hello longfufu

Thank you for your post...I am so so sorry to have panicked you!! Though I do feel reassured (and hope you do too) after hearing what your doctor told you.

Google is perfect for panicking pregnant women it seems!!

Longfufu Wed 20-Mar-13 15:09:53

Hi llamallama, No worries about the panicking, I'm just pleased that we are both ok and happy. Good luck x

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