When it comes to animals and pregnancy, common wisdom, superstition, family tradition, and science seem to clash. Is it dangerous to have a cat around a pregnant woman? Can raising a dog before you have a child prepare you for parenthood? Will a furry friend help prevent anxiety and even postpartum depression? Do you have to get rid of your animal companion once the baby arrives?
Sorting truth from fiction can be maddening, but we’re here to help. To break it down, let’s examine each question.
Bottom line: Having a pet during pregnancy can help with relaxation response, lower anxiety, provide comfort, and act as a catalyst in the therapy process, according to UCLA Health. By taking a few simple precautions, your pet can be a comfort to parents as well as new offspring and offer emotional support when facing depression and/or anxiety.