Zika And Pregnancy: 4 Tips Women Should Follow

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Young lady sitting on a porch in a tropical country

Follow CDC updates: The CDC continuously updates the public about the current state of the Zika virus: www.cdc.gov/zika

While Zika transmission rates have leveled off since the 2015-16 epidemic, if you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, it is important to consider some warnings about the virus...especially when traveling.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) connects the Zika virus to a variety of conditions affecting mothers-to-be and newborns, including miscarriage and microcephaly, a serious birth defect of the brain.

What Is Zika?

Zika is a viral illness that over the past six months spread from Brazil to many parts of the Caribbean and South and Central America. Cases of Zika have been reported in the continental U.S. but to date, only in travelers returning from areas experiencing outbreaks.

Zika is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, similar to other mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue fever. There have also been reports of the virus spreading through blood transfusion and sexual contact. Zika can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.

In most infected adults, Zika usually causes fairly mild illness, including fever, rash, and joint pain. However, news regarding the effects on unborn babies is raising concerns.

Reduce Your Risk

Specialists at LG Health Physicians Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend the following precautions if you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, to keep your reduce risk for Zika:

  1. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, strongly consider not traveling to regions of the world where tropical diseases are common. Follow the latest travel advisory from the CDC here.
  2. If you are pregnant, take precautions if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in areas where Zika is circulating.
  3. In Lancaster, we are fortunate to have obstetricians with expertise in tropical illnesses. If you are planning to travel to regions in question, schedule an appointment to discuss sensible measures to prevent not only the Zika virus, but other tropical diseases.
  4. Avoid mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing and using safe repellents and clothing treatments. Check out recommendations from the CDC.
author name

Serena S. Wu, MD

Serena S. Wu, MD, is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with LG Health Physicians Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Dr. Wu’s areas of expertise include fetal surveillance, integrative medicine, and prenatal diagnosis.

Education: Medical School—The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Internship, Residency, Fellowship—University of Chicago Hospital.

Call: 717-544-3514

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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