An Overview of Zika and Pregnancy

Ever since Zika virus has become a widespread health concern, Zika and pregnancy have been a popular topic in the Women’s Specialists of Plano office. The Plano obstetricians encourage all mothers-to-be and women trying to conceive in the Dallas, Plano and Frisco, Texas communities to learn more about the virus, including symptoms, prevention and treatment, as well as the birth defect microcephaly.

What to Know About Zika Virus

Zika and pregnancy have been declared a global public emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). Even though the virus may not harm children, men or women who are not pregnant, it does have the potential to cause great harm in expecting mothers and women trying to conceive. Passed by infected Aedes mosquitoes during a bite, Zika has been associated with several birth defects, including microcephaly.

Zika virus causes infected individuals to experience a rash, fever, headaches, joint pain and/or red eyes. The symptoms typically last from 2-7 days in otherwise healthy individuals. Unfortunately, Zika and pregnancy pose a greater risk than just these symptoms.

What is Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is classified as a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same age and sex. In certain cases, microcephaly is connected with smaller brains that are not completely developed. It is believed by healthcare professionals that microcephaly is associated with Zika and pregnancy. Women who are pregnant at the time of virus infection are at an increased risk of developing this harmful birth defect.

Plano Obstetricians Share Zika Prevention Tips

At this time there is no vaccine or cure for the virus, so prevention is critical. The CDC strongly encourages women trying to conceive and pregnant women from traveling to countries that are a high-risk area for Zika infection. Even though the United States is not considered a high-risk country, men and women have become infected during the hot, summer months when mosquito season is in full swing.

In order to help protect against Zika while pregnant, the Plano obstetricians at Women’s Specialists of Plano encourage all women to use bug sprays containing DEET. DEET has been found to be safe during pregnancy, and is a fantastic form of mosquito protection. It is also recommended to wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors to cover as much skin as possible.

If an expectant mother begins to experience Zika symptoms, it is highly recommended she visits a healthcare professional immediately. Zika and pregnancy are a risky combination. Zika symptoms should always be treated by a professional and never at home.

For additional information on Zika and pregnancy, or to learn more about microcephaly, please contact the Plano obstetricians at Women’s Specialists of Plano, serving the Dallas, Plano and Frisco, Texas area.