What We Know about Zika and Pregnancy
Zika is a virus spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
What we know
- Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
- Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. It may also cause neurodevelopmental abnormalities like
- problems with hearing and vision
- joints with limited range of motion
- too much muscle tone, restricting body movement
- swallowing abnormalities
- possible developmental delay
- Zika primarily spreads through bites from infected mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through sex without a condom with someone infected by Zika, even if that person does not have symptoms of Zika.
- There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
- Pregnant women should not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak (as indicated by red on the Zika map). Before travel to other areas with risk of Zika (as indicated by purple on the Zika map), pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should talk with their doctors or other healthcare providers and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel.
What we do not know
- How likely it is that Zika infection will affect your pregnancy.
- If your baby will have birth defects if you are infected while pregnant.
- The full range of health effects that Zika during pregnancy might lead to.
Page last reviewed: March 23, 2021