“I haven’t really told anyone yet but I have just found out that I am pregnant,” says Fozia. “I’m fine and all that, but I suddenly remembered seeing signs about pregnant women needing to be careful during lambing season at the play farm, and we’ve booked Aadil’s fourth birthday party there. To be honest, I have no idea when the lambing season is, but I’m assuming it might be around now because we’re coming into spring. What should I do?
I don’t really want to cancel the party – but I don’t want to put this baby at risk.”
Pregnant women are advised to avoid close contact with sheep during the lambing season, which runs from January to April, because of the risk of contracting an infection that may harm them or their unborn child.
The risk is also posed by cows and goats that have recently given birth and is present all year round, not just at lambing season, but is actually very small as the culpable infections are uncommon in sheep and very rare in humans.
Fozia should be advised that, in order to avoid the risk of infection, she should not be involved in any aspect of the birth of a lamb, calf or kid, stay away from any materials that may have become contaminated during birthing such as bedding or clothing, and not take part in milking.
Assuming she can do all this and the farm can reassure her that it will do what it can in reducing the risk to her and her unborn child, there is no need to cancel the birthday party.
The main infections pregnant women need to be aware of are: