Zika virus is not serious for most people. In fact, most patients show only mild symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Some people may not show any symptoms at all, and they might not even know that they have the virus.
Even though Zika isn’t a major concern for most people, we want you to be aware of the problems it can cause during pregnancy. Babies who were exposed to Zika in utero can develop a condition called microcephaly, which causes a tiny head and severe birth defects that can impact hearing, vision, cognitive development and physical growth.
If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, this is a scary thought. However, you can protect yourself and your baby.
Extra precautions can keep you and your baby safe from the virus
Zika virus can be spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, so we recommend avoiding travel to areas impacted by Zika. If you cannot avoid travel to endemic areas, you may want to consider fertility preserving options like sperm freezing.
The virus can also be spread by sexual contact with an infected person. Men who have returned from an endemic area and show symptoms of Zika should avoid unprotected sex for at least six months. Even if a man shows no symptoms, he should still use a condom for eight weeks.
If you’re already pregnant and your partner has returned from an endemic area, our fertility specialists suggest that you use a condom every time you have sex. This will protect your baby.