Zika Information for Pregnant Women

Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of women who have Zika virus while pregnant. Other problems have been found among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant should not travel to areas with Zika. If you must travel to one of these areas or if you live in an area with Zika, talk to your healthcare provider and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and to prevent sexual transmission.

(Information provided by the CDC)

Zika and Sexual Transmission

It is possible for a man to carry Zika and give it to his partner(s) through sex, even when he does not have symptoms, or know that he is infected.The timeframe for using condoms or waiting to have sex will vary based on the couple’s situation and concerns and are listed below.  

  • Couples who include a man who has been diagnosed with Zika or had symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 6 months after symptoms begin.  This includes men who live in and men who traveled to areas with Zika.
  • Couples who include a man who traveled to an area with Zika but did not develop symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 8 weeks after their return.
  • Couples who include a man who lives in an area with Zika but has not developed symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex while there is Zika in the area.

Remember, these strategies are to prevent birth defects!

More detailed information may be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Zika and Sexual Transmission page.

(Information courtesy of the CDC)

If You are Pregnant In an Area without Zika-Like Howard County

Avoid travel to an area with Zika

  • Until we know more, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant should not travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading. 
  • If you must travel  to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Remove or stay away from mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.

Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

  • Until more is known, pregnant women with male sex partners who have lived in or traveled to an area with Zika virus should either use condoms the right way, every time, for vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • If a pregnant woman is concerned that her male partner may have or had Zika virus infection, she should talk to her healthcare provider. She should tell her healthcare provider about her male partner’s travel history, including how long he stayed, whether or not he took steps to prevent getting mosquito bites, and if she had sex with him without a condom since his return.
  • Women trying to get pregnant and their male partners should talk to their healthcare provider before traveling to areas with Zika. Because sexual transmission is possible, both men and women should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

See a healthcare provider

  • Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a healthcare provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick.
  • It is especially important that pregnant women see a doctor if they develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during their trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to an area where Zika has been reported. They should tell the doctor where they traveled.
  • CDC has guidance to help doctors decide what tests are needed for pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika.

(Information courtesy of the CDC)

If You Are Thinking About Pregnancy

If you aren’t pregnant, but you’re thinking about having a baby, here’s what you can do.

  • Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider.
  • Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

Women and their partners who are thinking about pregnancy should talk with their doctor or healthcare provider about

  • Plans for having children
  • Potential risk of getting Zika during pregnancy
  • Their partner’s potential exposures to Zika.

Doctor's Visit Checklists

Zika and Sex

(Click on the graphic for the full pdf)

Zika y Las Relaciones Sexuales

(Haga click para el pdf completo)


Important Prevention Information
Not Just for Travelers

zika-pregnancytravel icon

(click to get the full size pdf)