Its officially the summer, which means it is mosquito season. It seems like everywhere you turn outdoors, mosquitos are waiting to bite at your ankles and body. While mosquito bites are already a pain on their own, the threat of mosquitos is even worse this summer due to Zika virus and the potential for mosquitos to be carrying it. For women looking to get pregnant, Zika is an extra concern due to the fact that Zika has potential to cause birth defects. This causes many women to wonder, should I wait to get pregnant because of Zika?
According to a very new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three infants in the United States have been born with Zika related birth defects and at least 234 pregnant women in the United States have Zika. Zika related birth defects, according to ABC News, include microcephaly, calcium deposits in the brain, excess fluid in brain cavities, abnormal eye development and damage to nerves, muscles, and bones.
However, it is important to note that the CDC claims that every reported Zika case has been associated with travel. This means that either the woman or her partner had visited or traveled to a country that is affected by Zika.
It is because of these statistics that the CDC has warned pregnant mothers from traveling to countries with active Zika transmission — this includes most of South America and other Pacific Islands — which tend to be vacation hot spots in the summer time.
But what if you're not pregnant but still worried about Zika's impact? Well, you can be assured that there have been no locally acquired mosquito borne Zika cases in the United States. Therefore, if you're wanting to get pregnant and you're not traveling outside of the country, it is unlikely that you will currently catch Zika from a mosquito in the United States.
But your partner is also responsible in this situation as well because Zika can also be transmitted sexually. Therefore, if your partner has been to a country affected with Zika and they somehow catch the virus, when it comes time to conception, there is a possible risk of Zika transmission.
According to March of Dimes, Zika usually stays in a person's blood for a few days to a week after being bitten and stays in a man's semen for anywhere from two to ten weeks after being bitten. It is also important to remember that most people who have Zika don't show any signs or symptoms.
Therefore, if either you or your partner are traveling to locations where Zika is transmitted by mosquitos and want to get pregnant immediately after, you might want to get tested for Zika before conception.
Zika is a very scary thing happening in this world right now and until more studies are done and statistics are released, it is better to be more safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to pregnancy.