Zika Virus & Pregnancy - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on February 23, 2016

Zika Virus & Pregnancy

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus as a "public health emergency of international concern." Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitos infected with the virus. At this time there is no prevention vaccine available. The vast majority of people have nothing to worry about, at worst getting a rash and flu-like symptoms, but Zika does pose a unique threat to pregnant women.

"Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus," says Tasha Johnson, MD, OB/GYN. "There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant."

Until more is known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women.

WHO is advising pregnant women in any trimester or women hoping to become pregnant to avoid traveling to areas where Zika has been confirmed. These include several countries in the Caribbean that are popular tourist destinations. If you have been to or planning to travel to one of these areas, be sure to talk with your doctor as there have been guidelines established for screening tests for the virus.

"Right now there are still many unanswered questions about the Zika virus," says Dr. Johnson. "Women of child-bearing age should remain educated and diligent regarding any pregnancy or conception. When in doubt, check in with your doctor."

Consistent prenatal care is important for a healthy pregnancy for mom and baby. If you are looking for an OB/GYN, we have many to choose from. Find one now!

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Zika Virus & Pregnancy