The Aedes mosquitoes (found in tropical and subtropical regions but have spread to continents with human activity) primarily transmit the Zika virus. It is also possible to contract the illness through sexual activities (oral, vaginal, anal and exchange of sex toys) from a partner who has been infected or bit by the insect.
In rare instances, the Zika virus may be passed from mother to fetus via blood transfusion but per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG), there aren’t enough clinical findings that measure the risk to an unborn baby if the mother is infected1.
It is important that all pregnant women are tested (urine, blood, ultrasound and finally amniocentesis) for Zika during prenatal visits although there are no commercial tests that have been approved by the FDA. Only 20% of people infected with the virus will become ill2 and it’s a lot like a mild case of flu making the symptoms misleading.
Consult your healthcare provider immediately if you observe any of the following:
1. Low-grade fever
4. Joint and muscle pain
5. Conjunctivitis or pink eye
There is a lot of misunderstanding and exaggeration on the link between the Zika virus and birth defects that are causing unnecessary fear. Media, abortion advocates and politics are (unfortunately) encouraging pregnant women who are infected with the Zika virus to abort their babies claiming there are very high chances of abnormalities in the babies.
Here are some of the reasons why women with Zika virus are advised/scared into getting an abortion:
1. Pregnancy loss
2. Baby can be born with Microcephaly (birth defect)
3. Impaired growth in babies
4. Loss of vision in children
5. Loss of hearing in children
6. Progressive damage in children
Prevention Is Better Than Abortion:
As per new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should:
1. Avoid having sex with a partner who has traveled or lived in an area affected by Zika virus.
2. Do not travel to areas that are affected by Zika virus
3. Use a condom during any form of sex3
Since there is no vaccine yet for Zika, taking precautions to ensure you do not get infected is a lot more doable than worrying through-out your pregnancy about the chances of your baby being affected. Use bug spray with DEET and follow instructions carefully, make sure there is no stagnant water in or around your house, and rid your house of bugs to ensure you don’t get mosquito bites
According to Donna Harrison, Executive Director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for a woman to give birth to a baby with microcephaly, Zika infection needs to take place within the first trimester in most cases. Of those women, only 1-2% will see birth defects in their babies. “That means 98 percent of pregnant women infected with the Zika virus will give birth to normal babies,” Harrison said.4
The Associated Press5 had published a report on various studies on the matter, estimating that between 1-15% of pregnant women who contracted Zika in the first trimester had babies with birth defects.
If you are worried about conceiving and going through with a pregnancy that will result in the baby having abnormalities, remember that every 4 ½ minutes (nearly 120,000 each year), a baby is born with birth defects in America. Babies born with defects often need interventions and special care to survive and to thrive developmentally. To improve the outcomes of these babies, it is crucial to refer the child as early as possible for services they need to improve outcomes.6