Pregnant women should avoid close contact with animals that are giving birth, or have recently given birth. You may risk your own health and that of your unborn child by coming into close contact with sheep during lambing, or other farm animals that are giving birth as these animals can carry infections such as chlamydia, toxoplasmosis, listeria and Q fever.
All of these agents are zoonotic (i.e. can be transmitted between animals and humans). They can cause abortion in sheep and other domesticated species and may harm pregnant women or their unborn children.
Although the number of pregnancies affected by contact with infected animals is extremely small, it is very important that pregnant women understand the risks and take appropriate precautions.
Further information is available in the NHS Health Scotland Ready, Steady, Baby website.