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Being pregnant around sheep and lambs

(29 Posts)
Gateau Wed 11-Mar-09 11:05:58

Yep, I know it needs some explanation!
DH and I were hoping to take DS to a lamb feeding day this weekend and my friend said it wasn't too good for a pregnant woman to get too close to or touch lambs and sheep.
Can anyone shed any light on this?

mehgalegs Wed 11-Mar-09 11:08:29
nickytwotimes Wed 11-Mar-09 11:08:34

Yes. Lambs can carry listeriosis which is dangerous to the unborn baby. Many of my friends are farmers and ahd to keep away from the lambs when they were pg. The lambs are normally sick, but not always symptomatic.
SOrry!

Even if you weren;t touching them, ds would be and could potentially pass bacteria to you by touch.

FiveGoMadInDorset Wed 11-Mar-09 11:09:48

Don't go, not worth the risk.

Gateau Wed 11-Mar-09 11:13:37

Oh bloody bloody bloody.
Was REALLY looking forward to that.

nickytwotimes Wed 11-Mar-09 11:15:10

Never mind.
You can look forward to taking them both next year!

Not just lieteriosis neither: chlamydiosis (enzootic abortion of ewes - EAE), toxoplasmosis and listeriosis all cause miscarriage in sheep and can potentially cause it in people. Have to avoid visiting my parents while pregnant for this very reason (sheep farm).

Take them both next year - and don't forget to wash your hands smile

Snowfalls108 Wed 11-Mar-09 13:04:27

my in-laws are sheep farmers and I've been banned from the farm during lambing.

Tamlin Wed 11-Mar-09 13:06:52

We wound up going for a long walk in the country, not realizing that the walk would take us through a paddock of lambing ewes. Didn't go near any and my husband took my shoes off as soon as we got home, but does anyone know exactly how they need to be cleaned? Will a quick scrub of the soles with hot water be enough? I'm a bit clueless - I don't even know if this stuff can get passed through sheep poo, although I assume toxoplasmosis can be.

FairMidden Wed 11-Mar-09 13:10:37

Tamlin, if you are not handling the sheep or lambs yourself, and you wash your hands well, you should be fine. I am assuming you haven't got plans to lick your shoes or anything? grin

There is a very small theoretical risk that you could have collected some infective material on your shoes, but the likelihood of that getting into your system if you practice good hygiene is tiny. Give them a wipe down for your peace of mind and then wash your hands and forget about it.

ABetaDad Wed 11-Mar-09 13:11:40

Yes it is dangerous. Our female friend with an organic farm had to keep away from the lambing shed during her preganancy.

Do not take the risk as others have said.

Gateau Wed 11-Mar-09 13:31:43

So I shouldn't go to the lambing event, even if I don't touch the animals and DH does all the washing of DS's hands etc??

FairMidden Wed 11-Mar-09 13:35:57

Gateau, personally I would be happy to go provided I stayed away from the animals and you all practise good hand hygiene afterwards.

I think that as long as you are aware that there's a risk you will be able to avoid it - if it's a farm open day for example you will probably find that there are signs up advising you about washing hands and I doubt that pregnant women would be permitted to handle the animals anyway. Most farmers are particularly clued-up about this given that their wives have to live on farm during lambing season every year.

FairMidden Wed 11-Mar-09 13:37:31
FairMidden Wed 11-Mar-09 13:40:23

Gateau, it would probably be fine. Just like it would probably be fine to have a slice of unpasturised cheese. The chances are you would not get infected.

But is it really worth the risk?

If you do decide to go then please take lots of disinfectant (not normal) wipes and use them on your hands regularly (even if you don't touch anything). Bare in mind that every gate/door/fence will have been touched by someone who has touched a lamb.

Gateau Wed 11-Mar-09 14:22:56

Much as I want to, I probably won't go.
My last two pgs ended in mcs and I don't want to do anything that might cause another. (I'm only 8 weeks).
If I had another mc I would blame this, whether it was the cause or not.

FairMidden Wed 11-Mar-09 14:24:55

Also wanted to add that advice given to pregnant wives of farmers is to stay away from handling the animals and to avoid handling protective clothing eg during laundry - so the farmers have to wash the scabby boiler suits themselves! - these are people who cannot just "avoid farms" because they live on one.

It is a real and genuine risk but one which can be pretty much eliminated by avoiding direct contact with lambing ewes and newborn lambs. TBH the risks associated with older lambs would be pretty minimal.

It's all about your own personal attitude to risk. Have fun if you do go, Gateau, and if you don't then you hereby have permission to spend the day eating chocolate instead grin

Gateau I know how you feel. I usually help with lambing, but this year am pregnant and so am avoiding the whole thing (even though due end of April). I hate not being a part of it, but also know that I would blame myself if something went wrong (history of miscarriage too).

I do think you're saving yourself the worry. It's not fair all the things we have to consider, but it's worth it.

Can you send DH with ds and have a lovely indulgent day to yourself? I second the chocolate.

Gateau Wed 11-Mar-09 15:51:30

I think we'll have to forget it for this year; I don;t want to miss out on the cuteness of it all and also we don't get many family days together. DWill console myself with the thought that DS is not even two yet and might benefit more next year. It's all really for me, more than him blush
So we'll devise another plan - that involves chocolate.
Thanks everyone for your invaluable advice. I

tigerbump Wed 11-Mar-09 16:51:28

i know we are in france but as we are in a farming area I was given a strict warning by the Doctor to avoid contact with the spring arrivals (calfs and lambs) as like you I get the chance to assist with the feeding. so think its better to be safe than sorry

lee69 Thu 06-May-10 10:52:43

Oh I hope someone can give me advice, been visiting friends farm and had been in the barn with the ewes in full lambing mode..also I was holding a wee lamb that had been abandoned by his mum...had not a clue that I was pregnant, and just discovered that Im 5 weeks ....what risks Im I looking at? help!!!!!!

legallyblond Thu 06-May-10 11:24:26

lee69 - you need to cotact your doctor asap. I am sure all will be fine but I think you can have blood tests for lieteriosis, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. Not sure if you can have a blood test for chlamydiosis though. My Aunt is a sheep farmer and has had two children fairly recently. As this is her livelihood (she is the farmer, not her husband) she had to be present during lambing both times. She had very powerful disinfectant handwash , wipes and gel all the time and had blood tests for list, toxo etc twice a week(!). She did not miscarry.

Twittle Thu 06-May-10 14:40:04

lee69 my husband is a farmer and we have just been through lambing a few months ago, I am now 28 weeks pregnant. I didn't help with the lambing this year as was advised to stay away but I can tell you that the main concern is with the 'afterbirth' and therefore lambs that have just been born and are still 'wet' which I shouldn't think the one that you were handling was. Try not too worry but I would advise going to see your doctor and they can do a blood test for Toxoplasmosis although you would be very unlucky to have caught this and actually may already have the bacteria in your body anyway and therefore, be immune to it. Anyway don't panic and make an appointment to see your GP/Midwife and take it from there. Let us know how you get on and good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

lee69 Thu 06-May-10 16:15:10

Thanks guys for the advice, doc booked for tomorrow so I will get all the necessary test done, how scary though, but Twittle thanks for the advice (the lamb)I handled was a couple of days old, but we were walking in and out of the labour barn,silly me Im lamb daft nearly thought of bringing one home wink good job I didnt.
Thanks legallyblond any advice is useful..you would think I would know better no4 and Im 40!!!!!!blush.
When will I ever learn grin poor hubby suffering from shock x

nessmay Thu 06-May-10 17:21:10

I think the risk is very low. I work with someone who's husband is a sheep farmer. Her mother in law had 4 children and was pregnant with all of them during lambing season, where she probably helped deliver 100's of lambs. As this was the 70's and no one knew about the risk she was none the wiser and didn't have any problems.

My colleague lived on the farm during lambing season whilst pregnant (it is her home), but just didn't go near them.

Knowing what we know now though I probably wouldn't enjoy myself if I went, because I'd constantly be thinking 'what if?'

Unbuffy Thu 06-May-10 19:11:28

Lee I did a month of night lambing without knowing I was preggers! I was 6 weeks by the end of the 4 week stint, which included loads of running around, falling over and birthing lambs. DD is currently attempting to sleep upstairs. There is a risk, yes, but it's not a guaranteed one, and at 5 weeks the baby is not yet sharing your bloodstream (I think). Nevertheless, I do hope all is well for you!

oldmum42 Thu 06-May-10 19:48:27

My parents are farmers so know a bit about this - the biggest risk is in handling any of the afterbirth, stillborn lambs and "still wet" lambs - so the lambing shed is a much bigger risk than outdoors with older lambs, but why take the risk at all?

Take both your kids - next year!

lee69 Sun 09-May-10 11:09:47

Hello all, Doc app went ok if just a little bit of nothing, no blood test no tummy check...is this because Im only 5 weeks? and he said that the midwifes would be in touch and that was thatconfused
I told him Id been at a farm but he said that there was no reason to worry, he said I look healthy and not showing any symptoms for him to be at all concerned...guess they know best.

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