Expectant Mothers

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women who are pregnant  should NOT travel to areas with a Zika outbreak. Additionally, pregnant women should talk with a health care provider to carefully consider the risks before traveling to other areas with risk of Zika. Visit CDC’s Zika travel information page for a map showing areas where Zika is a risk.

Understanding testing for Zika virus infection during pregnancy:

If you are pregnant, you should tell your doctor or other health care provider if you recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika or had sex without a condom with someone who lives in or recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika. If you develop symptoms of Zika (fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes or muscle pain), your health care provider may order blood or urine tests to look for Zika or other viruses like dengue or chikungunya. If you live in or recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika outside the U.S. and its territories, your doctor may consider testing for Zika even if you do not have symptoms of Zika.

Your health care provider may order blood or urine tests to look for Zika or other viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

Below are a few factsheets from the CDC about Zika virus:

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

Following up with your doctor:

If you had possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy, it is very important that you follow-up with your doctor at these specific time points:

For you:

  • 1 st trimester
  • 2 nd trimester
  • 3 rd trimester

For your baby: Tell your baby’s doctor that you may have had Zika virus while you were pregnant

  • At delivery
    1. Your baby should be tested for Zika virus
    2. Your baby should get a head ultrasound
  • 2 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months

For an easy way to keep track of your follow-up progress, check out this Zika and Pregnancy Brochure (English | Spanish) or this roadmap from CDC!

Understanding Pregnancy Outcomes:

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.

Zika and Microcephaly:

Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth.

Congenital Zika Syndrome:

Congenital Zika Syndrome is a pattern of birth defects found among fetuses and babies infected with Zika virus during pregnancy. It is described by the following features:

  • Smaller than expected head size, called microcephaly
  • Problems with brain development
  • Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • A problem with joint movement, called contractures
  • Too much muscle tone restricting body movement soon after birth

Zika and the Asymptomatic Infant:

We do not yet know all of the ways Zika virus infection during pregnancy might affect a baby, including problems that may not be obvious when a baby is born. Because we are still learning about the long-term effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy, it is important for you and your doctor to monitor your baby’s development throughout your baby’s entire first year. Tracking your baby’s development will help to identify any problems early and help manage infant medical care.

Track your baby’s development through:

Learn more about Zika virus from the Virginia Department of Health