Hi Jill..we are glad that you brought your questions to us here at MedHelp.org!
I can answer your questions, I just hope that one of our DVMs will chime in if I say anything incorrect about toxoplasmosis. In general, this parasite is a potential risk to unborn babies, BUT...(noticed I capitalized for effect!) most women have a higher risk of getting toxo from gardening than they do from their cats. Most toxo cases in the US come from eating undercooked meat rather than cats. As long as your litter box is scooped daily, you can markedly decrease the potential for transmission of toxoplasmosis to you. The parasite needs 24+ hours to become infective after being passed in the cats' stool.
Cats can get toxoplasmosis from hunting wild animals or from digging in gardens and soil. The unique thing though is that once a cat is infected with toxo, the cat only sheds the parasite for a VERY short period of time after infection and then won't shed it again. So, given the fact that your cats are indoors and the single short transmission period of cats, it is unlikely that your cat will be shedding the parasite during your pregnancy. My first wife made me scoop the litterboxes for our 4 cats during her pregnancy.
As far as cats smothering babies, that is an old wives tale that has persisted for generations. WIth cats (and dogs) adjusting to a new baby in the household can be a challenge, but if you take some proactive steps, you will find that your new kids will fit right in with the old kids!
Talk with your veterinarian about making sure your cats are current on all vaccines and free from parasites.
Consider having a friend who has small children come over on occasion so that your cats can get used to the activities and noise of kids.
If you spend long amounts of time with your cats daily, consider slowly decreasing that time so that they aren't shocked by your sudden inability to spend all day with them.
When the baby does arrive, try to keep a normal routine and make sure your pets get attention at some point during the day.
Most importantly, ALWAYS supervise the pets when they interact with the baby, for everyone's protection.
I hope this helps soothe your concerns a little. Spend some time talking with your veternarian about your cats and what you can do to ease their transition to a bigger family. Also, tell your hubby that litterbox cleaning has now become his duty!!
By the way, when my son was born, my Siamese (Tawn Lea) had a favorite spot...sleeping right next to him. My son is now 17, healthy and has a fond respect and compassion for all pets.
Thanks so much for your reply - I feel much better knowing the facts!
Jill ( & Lenni, Loki and Sushi..my fur babies)