Summer is travel season for many of us. But if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant it’s important to be mindful of where you are traveling to. Because there still may be a risk of getting Zika infection in some parts of the world, travel to Zika-affected areas is not recommended. Zika is a virus that can cause serious problems during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and infected with Zika virus, you can pass it to your baby.
Not sure if where you are traveling to is a Zika-affected area? Check out this interactive world map to show you areas with risk of Zika.
How can Zika virus affect a baby during pregnancy?
Zika infection during pregnancy causes a birth defect called microcephaly and other brain problems. It also may be linked to other serious problems for a baby including:
- Growth problems in the womb
- Miscarriage. This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Stillbirth. This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Congenital Zika syndrome. This is a group of five health conditions present at birth that are linked to Zika infection during pregnancy. It includes birth defects (like microcephaly) and other health and development problems.
How can you protect yourself from Zika virus?
If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, here are a few things you and your partner can do to protect yourselves from Zika:
- Don’t travel to a Zika-affected area unless you absolutely have to. If you do visit these areas, talk to your health care provider before you go and take steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
- Prevent mosquito bites. See the information here to learn about how to protect yourself and your family.
- Don’t have sex with a male or female partner who may be infected with Zika virus or who has recently traveled to a Zika-affected area. During sex, an infected male can pass Zika through semen. An infected woman can pass Zika to her partner during sex through vaginal fluids or blood from her menstrual period. If you do have sex, use a barrier method of birth control (like a condom or dental dam) every time.
If you’ve been in a Zika-affected area, use bug spray or lotion for 3 weeks after you get back to help prevent Zika from spreading to others. If you’re pregnant and may have been exposed to Zika virus before or during pregnancy, see your provider. Your provider may test your blood and urine for Zika. If you do have Zika, you may get more than one ultrasound throughout pregnancy to check your baby for signs of microcephaly or other health problems.
For more information: