Some infections can be passed from sheep and other animals to humans. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, it could harm her and her unborn baby's health.
If you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant, avoid close contact with sheep during the lambing season, which runs from January to April.
Infections that can affect female sheep (ewes) and which could be passed to pregnant women include:
These infections are uncommon in sheep and very rare in humans. The number of human pregnancies affected by contact with sheep is extremely small.
Although the risks are low, pregnant women should still avoid close contact with sheep during lambing.
To avoid the risk of infection, if you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant:
Farmers are responsible for minimising the risk to pregnant women and members of their family, the public and professional staff who visit their farms.
Seek medical advice if you’re pregnant and:
Cows and goats that have recently given birth can also carry similar infections. Pregnant women should also be aware that the risk is present at other times of the year, not just during the lambing season.
Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.