A recent study revealed that a significant number of babies (6%) will or already have likely been born with birth defects caused by the Zika virus. This number includes women who don’t know that they have the virus, only to find that their newborn has microcephaly. In the study, which included 442 pregnant women, researchers found the 6% of the fetuses or infants were born with birth defects potentially caused by the Zika virus. 4% of these cases involved the child being born with microcephaly. Half of the women who had children born with birth defects didn’t show any symptoms of the Zika virus. Researchers also found that fetuses and mothers infected during the first trimester were far more likely to be born with birth defects. They actually found that none of the babies infected in the second or third trimester were born with birth defects.
The findings of this study further emphasize the importance of pregnant women being screened for the virus, especially if they may have been exposed. Women that are pregnant or may become pregnant also need to stay away from areas where the virus is active at all costs, and practice safe sex if their partner has been exposed to the virus through travel to areas where it is active. Let’s hope that forecast of 6% for the whole of the US doesn’t prove to be true or get even higher as time goes on.
Do you think women should avoid getting pregnant right now with the Zika virus making its rounds around the world? Should there be a period of time until we deal with this virus during which women should avoid having children just to be safe?