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Zika and Pregnant Women

Note: There is some sensitive nature in the content listed below, for medical purposes body parts have been referenced by their medical names for the sake of avoiding ambiguity about the Zika Virus and how it can be passed during pregnancy.

As a woman who is expecting my third child this fall, I had little to no concern about Zika even though I will have a summer pregnancy – that was until I joined a Twitter Party hosted by What to Expect and the CDC.  During the party, I realized that even though I am living in the Midwest, Zika is still a risk for me.

Here are some Zika facts from the CDC:

What We (The CDC) Know
1.  Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
2.  Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects
3.  Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through sex without a condom with someone infected by Zika, even if that person does not show symptoms of Zika.
4.  There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.

What We (The CDC) Do Not Know
1.  If there’s a safe time during your pregnancy to travel to an area with risk of Zika.
2.  How likely it is that Zika infection will affect your pregnancy.
3.  If your baby will have birth defects if you are infected while pregnant.

CDC recommends these special precautions for pregnant women:

Do Not Travel to an Area with Risk of Zika
1.  Pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika (i.e., with documented or likely Zika virus transmission).
2.  Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to yellow cautionary areas in the United States. For information on domestic travel, see CDC’s guidance.
What to Do If You Live In or Travel to an Area with Risk of Zika
If you live in or must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and practice safe sex.

During travel or while living in an area with risk of Zika

1.  Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
2.  Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex by using condoms from start to finish every time you have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) or by not having sex during your entire pregnancy.

After travel

1.  Talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider after travel to an area with risk of Zika.
2.  If you develop a fever with a rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, or muscle pain talk to your doctor immediately and tell him or her about your travel.
3.  Take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after returning.
4.  Take steps to prevent passing Zika through sex by using condoms from start to finish every time you have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) or by not having sex.

NOTE: If your partner travels to areas with risk of Zika the CDC recommends, if you have vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex, use a condom from start to finish, every time you have sex during your pregnancy; OR don’t have sex with your partner
during the remainder of your pregnancy.  Even if your partner does not show any signs or symptoms of Zika or mosquito bites, Zika can still be passed on during sex; and Zika can remain longer in semen than any other body fluid.

Be safe.  Be informed.  Please see more information at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/protect-yourself.html

Also, a map of the current areas that have risk of Zika can be found at the link below. Note, Zika has been reported in the USA in both Texas and Florida. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika

x. earnest mom.

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