Zika Virus and Pregnancy

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with risk of Zika. See additional travel guidance here.

What is the relationship between Zika and pregnancy? 

We know that Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects and is associated with other pregnancy problems. Recognizing that Zika virus is a cause of certain birth defects does not mean that every pregnant woman infected with Zika will have a baby with a birth defect. It means that infection with Zika during pregnancy increases the chances for these problems. Scientists continue to study how Zika virus affects mothers and their children to better understand the full range of potential health problems that Zika virus during pregnancy may cause.

How is Zika virus spread?
Zika virus is spread by a mosquito bite from a mosquito carrying the virus. It can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika virus infection to his or her partner. A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her baby during pregnancy.  You can prevent using insect repellents, wearing long sleeves, long pants, socks, and sleeping in rooms with screened windows or air conditioning. If your partner traveled to an area with Zika, use a condom every time you have sex.

What are the symptoms?
Most people experience no symptoms or only mild symptoms. If symptoms occur they might include: fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Travel Information

Who should be tested?

If you are pregnant, you should see a doctor or other health care provider if:

  • You live in OR recently traveled to a Zika-affected area, or
  • Had sex without a condom with a person who lives in or recently traveled to an area with Zika, even if you do not have symptoms.

What you should know about Zika virus testing:

If you have additional questions about testing, please contact your Local Health Department.

What is the Zika Pregnancy Registry?
To understand more about Zika virus infection during pregnancy and congenital Zika virus infections, CDC has established the US Zika Pregnancy Registry. Data collected through this surveillance effort will help guide recommendations for clinical care and testing, plan for services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Preliminary information can be found on the CDC’s US Zika Pregnancy Registry website.

Visit the Zika Registry in Virginia page for more information.


Recommendations for pregnant women are being updated as information is learned. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.

What to know