Zika Information for Pregnant Women

Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and the virus may cause birth defects or negative health effects on the baby after birth. While there is no local transmission of Zika in Wisconsin, the disease can still affect residents who may contract it through travel to an area with a risk of Zika or sexual contact with a partner who has traveled to an area with a risk of Zika.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, especially while pregnant: fever, rash, joint pain, and/or red eyes. Zika infection during pregnancy can contribute to the following:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Increased risk of birth defects, including microcephaly and other brain defects, vision and hearing problems, and impaired development.
Pregnant woman undergoing ultrasound

Pregnant? Do not travel to areas with a current Zika outbreak.

If you are currently pregnant it is important to minimize your risk for exposing yourself or your baby to Zika. Since Zika can be sexually transmitted, it is necessary to know the travel history of your partner and/or to practice safe sex (using condoms) for the duration of the pregnancy. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more details about areas with a risk of Zika virus.

It is safe to use insect repellant if you do travel while pregnant.

Trying to become pregnant? Consult your doctor before you or your partner travel.

For a healthy pregnancy, couples trying to become pregnant should discuss potential Zika risks with their health care provider before traveling.

  • Women who travel to areas with a risk of Zika should wait 8 weeks before becoming pregnant.
  • Men who travel to areas with a risk of Zika should wait 3 months before attempting conception with their partner.

For more information, see Wisconsin Zika Information for Travelers.

Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy and sexual transmission of Zika virus.

The use of an effective form of birth control can prevent unplanned pregnancy and the use of barrier methods such as condoms can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted Zika virus infection. For more information, see Wisconsin Zika Virus Prevention.

Breastfeeding is beneficial and safe.

To date, there have been no reports of Zika transmission to an infant thorough breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many benefits for an infant, and even women living in areas with local Zika transmission are encouraged to breastfeed.


Pregnancy Resources

Last Revised: March 15, 2019