For Women Who Are Pregnant or Wish to Conceive

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  • Zika Virus & Pregnancy
    • What we know
      • Pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus. 
      • The primary way that pregnant women get Zika virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. 
      • Zika virus can be passed to a pregnant woman by a male or female sexual partner.
      • Pregnant women can pass Zika virus to her fetus. 
      • Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.
    • What we do not know
      • If a pregnant woman is exposed, we don’t know how likely she is to get Zika.
      • If a pregnant women is infected:
        •  We don’t know how the virus will affect her or her pregnancy.
        • We don’t know how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus.
        • We don’t know if the fetus is infected, if the fetus will develop birth defects.
        • We don’t know when in pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus.
        • We don’t know whether her baby will have birth defects. 
        • We don’t know if sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects than mosquito-borne transmission.
  • Healthcare Provider Evaluation
    • CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission. If a pregnant woman must travel to one of these areas, she should talk to her healthcare provider. If she travels, she should be counseled to strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites and prevent sexual transmission during the trip.
      • Use EPA-registered insect repellent; EPA-registered repellents including DEET are considered safe to use in pregnant and lactating women
      • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover exposed skin
      • Wear Permethrin-treated clothes
      • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms
      • Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime; however, practice mosquito prevention strategies throughout the entire day.
    • Obtain recent travel history from pregnant women.
    • If history of travel to an area with ongoing Zika transmission during pregnancy is present:
      • Evaluate for symptoms of Zika virus and other related viruses (dengue and chikungunya) during or within 2 weeks of travel.
      • If a pregnant woman has a partner (male or female) who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, she should use a condoms or other barrier protection every time she has sex or should not have sex with that partner for the duration of her pregnancy. Sex includes vaginal, anal and oral sex, and the sharing of sex toys. Barrier protection includes male or female condoms for vaginal or anal sex, as well as dental dams for oral sex.
    • The type of testing recommended varies depending on the time of evaluation relative to symptom onset or last date of possible exposure.
      • Testing of serum and urine by rRT-PCR is recommended for pregnant women who seek care up to 2 weeks after symptom onset or last date of possible exposure. A positive rRT-PCR test confirms the diagnosis of recent maternal Zika virus infection.
      • For pregnant women who seek care 2-12 weeks after symptom onset or last date of possible exposure, serologic assays can be offered to detect Zika virus-specific IgM antibodies.
      • Immediate rRT-PCR testing is now recommended for women who have a positive or equivocal Zika virus IgM result, because it provides the potential for a definitive diagnosis of Zika virus infection.
      • Negative rRT-PCR results should be followed up with plaque reduction neutralization testing to measure virus specific neutralizing antibodies to confirm the presence of an immune response to a flavivirus infection and to differentiate Zika infection from other similar illnesses.
  • For Women of Reproductive Age
    • In the context of Zika virus transmission, it is important for women and their partners to plan their pregnancies. Health care providers should discuss reproductive life plans, including pregnancy intentions and timing with women of reproductive age.
    • Healthcare providers should ensure that women who want to delay or avoid pregnancy have access to safe and effective contraceptive methods that best meet their needs. Women and their partners who do not want to get pregnant now should use the most effective birth control correctly and consistently.
    • Healthcare providers for women and men residing in areas with active Zika virus transmission who have Zika virus disease should recommend they wait to attempt conception until the risk of viremia or viral shedding in semen is believed to be minimal.
    • For women and men who have been diagnosed with Zika virus or who have symptoms of Zika, like acute onset of fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis after possible exposure to Zika virus, CDC recommends:
      • Women to wait at least 8 weeks after their symptoms first appeared before trying to get pregnant.
      • Men to wait at least 6 months after their symptoms first appeared. Men should be counseled to also correctly and consistently use condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral (fellatio) sex or abstain during this time period if they are concerned about the possibility of transmitting Zika virus to their sex partners.
      • For men and women without symptoms of Zika virus but who had possible exposure to Zika who do not reside in an area with active Zika virus transmission, healthcare providers should recommend their patients wait 8 weeks after their possible exposure before trying to get pregnant. Men should correctly and consistently use condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral sex or abstain from sex during this time period if they are concerned about the possibility of transmitting Zika virus to their sex partners.
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