Key Facts: Zika and Pregnancy

Zika is a virus that has been linked to birth defects. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, be sure to take precautions against Zika, a virus that’s largely transmitted by mosquito bites. The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or during delivery. It may also be spread through unprotected sex and blood transfusions.

While only 1 in 5 people with the virus display symptoms (including fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes), Zika has also been linked to severe birth defects and health problems in infants, including:

  • Microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s head is smaller than expected, which can cause brain damage and other developmental problems
  • Eye defects
  • Hearing loss
  • Impaired growth

It is currently believed that once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely immune to future infections.

Get more information about Zika’s symptoms and how to prevent the virus.

What to do if you’re trying to conceive

If you’re not pregnant but are planning to become pregnant, here’s how long to wait before trying to have a baby after visiting an area with Zika according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Women with or without Zika symptoms: At least 8 weeks after symptoms start or after traveling to an area with Zika
  • Men with Zika symptoms: At least 6 months after symptoms start
  • Men without Zika symptoms: At least 8 weeks after return from visit

We’re committed to helping support healthy pregnancies. Women who become pregnant within 8 weeks of visiting an area with Zika should consult their doctor and be tested for the virus.

To learn more about Zika and pregnancy, visit the CDC’s Zika resource.

Article last reviewed on: September 8, 2016

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