Hello from Karen Reynolds, Acupuncturist and RN in Corte Madera, CA. In my acupuncture practice, I work with pregnant women and women trying to conceive. I’m noticing concern right now about Zika virus pregnancy risks. This article is about Zika virus pregnancy risks and how to protect yourself.
Mosquitoes spread the Zika virus; but keep in mind that does not mean all mosquitoes. It is specific mosquitoes in specific countries. If an infected mosquito bites a person, they typically will have a week of symptoms such as: rashes, joint pains, fever and red eyes. Many people do not even realize they have been infected, because the symptoms are mild and rarely cause trips to the hospital. If you are pregnant and worried, below are statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I hope these put your mind at ease.
Countries where Zika virus is currently being found:
Africa, Brazil, the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and Uganda.
US Territories where Zika Virus is currently being found:
American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
As of March 2, 2016
The number of Zika cases having occurred in the continental US is ZERO.
The number of Zika cases developing after travel abroad is 153.
What are the Zika virus pregnancy risks?
Babies with microcephaly have been born to women, bitten by infected mosquitoes. Microcephaly is when a baby’s head and brain are significantly smaller in size. These children can have problems with speech, vision, balance, swallowing, and have a decreased ability to learn.
What to keep in mind if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant?
During the first week a person has Zika virus, the virus is found in the person’s blood. That is how it is passed to the fetus of pregnant women. That also means it can be passed from an infected person to a sexual partner.
Men infected with Zika virus will have the virus in their semen (the fluid containing sperm). The virus also stays in the semen longer than in the bloodstream. If you are pregnant and your sexual partner has traveled to any areas noted above, use condoms during all sexual intercourse as well as all oral sex.
Please note that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website is wealth of knowledge. It has additional information about Zika virus pregnancy risks, traveling, and the best ways to protect against mosquito bites. Fortunately we are not seeing Zika virus outbreaks in the US and known cases in our country have occurred after travel abroad.
Safe sexual practices along with travel awareness will give you the best chance of avoiding exposure and having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
I hope this article is helpful and sets your mind at greater ease. All content is written personally by me. Please enjoy and feel free to share with me your thoughts or questions here. As long as you include the link for this blog entry to credit me as the author, it is fine to repost or share this article if you wish. For scheduling information and appointment availability, do please visit my website at: KReynoldsAcupuncture.com.