Caring for Your Baby: Developmental Delay Related to Zika
Developmental delay has been found among some babies born to women with evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Read below to learn more about how Zika virus might affect your baby’s development and find out what steps you can take to get the care your baby needs.
Zika and Developmental Delay
Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been linked to brain abnormalities and other birth defects in babies. Zika infection during pregnancy might affect how the baby’s brain develops and could lead to one or more developmental problems. Levels of developmental delay can vary greatly. Some babies may have more severe problems than others. Developmental delay may cause a baby to learn and develop at a slower rate than other babies of the same age. We continue to learn how babies born to mothers who had Zika virus during pregnancy grow and develop.
Signs of Developmental Delay
A baby with developmental delay may reach the following developmental milestones later than other babies their age:
- Sitting up
In addition, a baby with developmental delay may have trouble sleeping or have a delayed response when shown a new object or exposed to a new sound.
Visit CDC’s Milestones in Action image library and checklist to view average developmental milestones for babies ranging from 2 months to 5 years.
If You’re Concerned
If you were exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy and suspect your baby has developmental delay
- Tell your baby’s doctor or healthcare provider that your baby may have been exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy
- Talk to your baby’s doctor or healthcare provider early about your concerns
- Take your baby to see a developmental pediatrician or other specialist, if recommended by your baby’s doctor.
Contact your local early intervention agency (for children younger than 3 years) or public school (for children 3 years and older) for an evaluation.
We are still learning about the effects of Zika virus on a baby’s development. It is important for you to work with your baby’s doctor or healthcare provider early to manage your baby’s care together.
Care for Your Baby
Babies with developmental delays possibly due to Zika virus infection before birth need support as they grow and develop. A team of many different specialists may work together to evaluate and care for your baby. It is important to work with your baby’s pediatrician to create a medical homeExternal to ensure he or she is receiving ongoing, coordinated care.
Stay in regular communication with your baby’s doctors and keep regular appointments. Make sure your baby is getting the recommended screenings and follow-up care. If you have concerns, be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor or other healthcare provider.
For more resources to care for your baby, please visit