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Key Questions for Pregnant Women

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Key Questions for Pregnant Women

Is there a vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika?

No. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.

I am pregnant. Should I travel to a country where cases of Zika have been reported?

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant should follow these recommendations:
• Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
• Women trying to become pregnant who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
• Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

Key Questions for Pregnant Women

Is it safe to use an insect repellent if I am pregnant or nursing?

• Yes! Using an insect repellent is safe and effective. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding can and should choose an EPA-registered insect repellents and use it according to the product label.
We do not know the risk to the infant if a woman is infected with Zika virus while she is pregnant. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week. The virus will not cause infections in an infant that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood. There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. A women contemplating pregnancy, who has recently recovered from Zika virus infection, should consult her healthcare provider after recovering.
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Key Questions for Pregnant Women

Should pregnant women who traveled to areas with Zika virus be tested for the virus?

• See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported. Be sure to tell your health care provider where you traveled.

Is it safe to get pregnant after traveling to a country with Zika virus?

• If infected, Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.

Key Questions for Pregnant Women

Can a previous Zika virus infection cause someone who later becomes pregnant to have an infant with microcephaly?

• We do not know the risk to the baby if a woman is infected with Zika virus while she is pregnant. However, Zika virus infection does not pose a risk of birth defects for future pregnancies. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.
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Key Questions for Pregnant Women

Can a pregnant woman be tested for Zika weeks or months after being in a country with Zika?

• At this time, and for several reasons, we do not recommend routine Zika virus testing in pregnant women who have traveled to a country with known transmission. First, there can be false-positive results due to antibodies that are made against other related viruses. Second, we do not know the risk to the fetus if the mother tests positive for Zika virus antibodies. We also do not know if the risk is different in mothers who do or do not have symptoms due to Zika virus infection.

If a woman who has traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission, should she wait to get pregnant?

• We do not know the risk to an infant if a woman is infected with Zika virus while she is pregnant. Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week. The virus will not cause infections in an infant that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood. There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. A women contemplating pregnancy, who has recently travelled to an area with local Zika transmission, should consult her healthcare provider after returning.

Facts about Microcephaly

What is microcephaly?

Microcephaly is condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows.
Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.
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Facts about Microcephaly

Other Problems

Babies with microcephaly can have a range of other problems, depending on how severe their microcephaly is. Microcephaly has been linked with the following problems:
• Seizures
• Developmental delay, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones
• Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life)
• Problems with movement and balance
• Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
• Hearing loss
• Vision problems
These problems can range from mild to severe and are often lifelong. In some cases, these problems can be life-threatening. Because it is difficult to predict at birth what problems a baby will have from microcephaly, babies with microcephaly often need close follow-up through regular check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor their growth and development.

Facts about Microcephaly

Occurrence

Microcephaly is not a common condition. State birth defects tracking systems have estimated that microcephaly ranges from 2 babies per 10,000 live births to about 12 babies per 10,000 live births in the Unites States.

Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of microcephaly in most babies are unknown. Some babies have microcephaly because of changes in their genes. Other causes of microcephaly can include the following exposures during pregnancy:
• Certain infections, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis, or cytomegalovirus
• Severe malnutrition, meaning a lack of nutrients or not getting enough food
• Exposure to harmful substances, such as alcohol, certain drugs, or toxic chemicals
Researchers are also studying the possible link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.

Facts about Microcephaly

Diagnosis

Microcephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born.

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, microcephaly can sometimes be diagnosed during an ultrasound (which creates pictures of the body). To see microcephaly during pregnancy, the ultrasound test should be done late in the 2nd trimester or early in the third trimester.

After the Baby is Born

To diagnose microcephaly after birth, a healthcare provider will measure the distance around a newborn baby’s head, also called the head circumference, during a physical exam. The provider then compares this measurement to population standards by sex and age.
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