Zika and Pregnancy: 5 Things You Need to Know
The connection between Zika and pregnancy is a danger that all soon to be mothers should be aware of. The Zika virus can be transmitted to a fetus from their mother, which can cause detrimental birth defects. Read below to learn how to reduce your risk of contracting the Zika virus:
- Zika is spread through mosquitos infected with the virus. Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sexual partners, even if the person does not have any symptoms. There is no medicine or vaccine for Zika at this time.
- Pregnant women should avoid travel to areas with risk of Zika. If you must travel, talk to your physician first. More information about known locations for Zika infection can be found at www.cdc.org/zika/geo/index.html.
- You can prevent Zika by preventing mosquito bites. The mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants and stay in air-conditioned places. It is important to remove any standing water areas around your home as mosquitoes use these areas for breeding.
- Zika has been linked to birth defects. Infection with Zika during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a severe birth defect which results in incomplete brain development and a smaller than normal sized head. There are other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika before birth.
- Returning travelers that are infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites and sex. These travelers (even if they do not feel sick) should continue to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks to avoid spreading Zika to uninfected mosquitoes. If you or a partner has lived or visited an area with risk of Zika, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, steps must be taken to protect with a condom, diaphragm, etc. during sex to reduce the risk of being infected. Women should avoid pregnancy for eight weeks after possible Zika exposure. Zika can be spread to partners during this time because it remains present in semen for six months after infection, even without symptoms.