Are you planning to travel this holiday season to visit your loved ones? If so, you may need to take extra precautions if you’re expecting. Talk to your midwife in Arlington Heights about whether it’s safe for you to travel. The safety concerns associated with air travel during pregnancy aren’t the only issues you should consider. Depending on your destination, your midwife may recommend changing your plans to reduce the risk of your exposure to Zika virus.
Understanding the Zika Virus
The Zika virus, which currently has no vaccine or cure, is spread primarily through mosquito bites. It can also be spread from person to person during sex. Most people who develop Zika experience a mild illness that generally resolves within a week. The major concern with Zika is the potential for the virus to be transmitted to a fetus when the mother becomes infected. Zika has been known to cause severe brain defects, including microcephaly.
Researching Current Location-Specific Risks
The geographical spread of Zika is subject to change over time. Your midwife can check the current risks of Zika in the area where you plan to travel. Zika has been confirmed in many locations, including the Bahamas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and others. Closer to home, Zika has also been confirmed in Florida.
Considering a Change of Plans
If you are already pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you do not travel to any areas in which Zika has been confirmed. Consider asking your loved ones if they would be willing to travel to your home instead. If you’re not yet pregnant, but you are trying to conceive, talk to your midwife about whether restricting your travel would be wise. The CDC advises against nonessential travel for women who are trying to conceive. If your partner travels to these areas, you’ll need to take precautions to guard against Zika transmission during sex. Your midwife can advise you of how long you should wait to have unprotected sex after your partner has potentially been exposed to Zika.