Zika Information for Pregnant Women
Zika virus during pregnancy can have devastating effects on the fetus. Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, which is a condition where the baby’s head is smaller than expected and brain development may be severely impaired. Zika virus infection has also been linked to other severe fetal brain defects including eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired physical and mental development. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika virus infection. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant it is critical that you take the following steps to protect yourself from the Zika virus.
- Travel to countries with active Zika virus transmission is not recommended for pregnant women or women wishing to become pregnant.
- Unprotected sex with partners that have traveled to countries with active Zika virus transmission should be avoided.
- Not having sex is the only way to be sure someone does not transmit Zika virus sexually.
- Daytime is most dangerous. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters, but they will also bite at night. Use personal protection measures to protect against mosquito bites.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET or picaridin. They are safe for pregnant women and they work!
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when possible.
- Protect yourself and your home against mosquitoes.
- Use screens on doors and windows.
- Use air conditioning when available.
- Eliminate standing water.
- Talk with your doctor if you think you or your partner may have or had Zika virus.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have had unprotected sex with someone who recently traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission.