Talking with Your Baby’s Doctor about Zika and Pregnancy
As a parent of a newborn who may have been exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy, you may feel overwhelmed, worried, and unsure of next steps for your baby, even if your baby seems to be healthy. Talk regularly with your baby’s doctor about your concerns and go to all scheduled appointments to make sure your baby is getting the care he or she needs.
If you tested positive for Zika virus during pregnancy, be sure to let your baby’s doctor know at the first visit. It is important for the doctor to be aware that your baby may have been exposed to Zika virus.
Before the doctor visit
Prepare for the visit by writing down any questions or concerns that you have for your baby’s doctor. Here are some possible questions:
- What types of tests will my baby need?
- What treatments do you recommend for my baby?
- Will you be referring my baby to a specialist? If so, which ones?
- Does my baby need to be evaluated by an early intervention program? If so, can you connect me?
- Do you have any brochures or materials that may help me?
- Are there any support groups or other resources for parents who have a baby affected by Zika?
During the visit
Time with your baby’s doctor may be quick and it may be hard to remember all of the information the doctor is giving you. Here are some tips to get the most out of each visit.
- Take notes. Write down the doctor’s answers to your questions to help you remember what the doctor says. If more questions come up during the appointment, be sure to write them down so you won’t forget to ask them. Keep your notes organized and store them in a safe place so that you can look at them later if needed.
- Ask your doctor to repeat information. If you do not understand something, ask the doctor to explain it again or in a different way. If the doctor is using words you don’t know, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask what they mean.
- Bring in backup. If you can, take another person with you to play with your child so you can better focus on what the doctor says.
- Remember, you know your baby best. Don’t be afraid to mention any concerns you may have. Any information you can give the doctor about your baby’s well-being during the visit is valuable.
After the visit
- Review your notes and follow up on any next steps the doctor gives you. Once you do that, be sure to let the doctor know how things went.
- Regularly track your baby’s development between visits using CDC’s developmental milestone checklists and mention any concerns to the doctor.
- Contact your state or territory’s early intervention program to find out if your baby can get free or low cost services that can help. You do not need a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to have your baby evaluated for services.
- Do not be afraid to call the doctor’s office again if you have more questions on how to best care for your baby.