Zika virus infection during pregnancy

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious problems. If you're pregnant and get infected with Zika, you can pass it to your baby. Being infected with Zika before birth increases a baby’s risk for birth defects, but not all babies infected have them. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body, and they can cause problems in overall health, in how the body develops or in how the body works.

If you're pregnant and think you may have been exposed to Zika virus, see your health care provider right away.

How can Zika infection during pregnancy affect a baby’s health?

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a birth defect that happens when a baby’s head is smaller than expected, compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that don’t develop properly. Not every baby whose mother has Zika is born with microcephaly. Researchers are working to learn how often Zika causes microcephaly when a baby is exposed in the womb.

 

Zika also may be linked to:

* Growth problems in the womb

* miscarriage when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

* stillbirth when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

* Congenital Zika syndrome, a group of birth defects associated with Zika infection during pregnancy.

Zika Care Connect is a website that offers up-to-date information about caring for women and families who may have been exposed to Zika. It also offers a database of providers who care for these women and families. You can search the database by things like location, kind of provider, the language the provider speaks and the insurance the provider takes. If you may have been exposed to Zika during pregnancy, you can use Zika Care Connect to find the right providers to take care of you and your baby.

How does the Zika virus spread?

Zika virus spreads:

* Through mosquito bites. This is the most common way it spreads.

* By passing it to your baby during pregnancy and birth

* Through sex with a person infected with Zika

* Through infected blood and body tissue, including semen. You may be at increased risk of being exposed to infected blood and body tissue if you work in a health care setting (like a hospital or a lab). There also may be a risk of getting infected with Zika if you get a blood transfusion.

 

Learn more about Zika virus and pregnancy and how to how to protect your family from Zika.