Patient Counseling for Pregnant Women on Zika and Pregnancy

Healthcare providers should counsel pregnant women about the risks for Zika and how to protect themselves. Read more below for CDC’s guidance.

Travel Recommendations

CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to areas with a Zika outbreak (as indicated by red areas on the Zika map). If a pregnant woman is considering travel to other areas with risk of Zika (as indicated in purple on the Zika map), she should talk to her healthcare provider and carefully consider risks and possible consequences of travel. If she travels to an area with a Zika outbreak or other area with risk of Zika, she should be counseled to strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika during the trip. All travelers should continue to take steps to prevent mosquito bites for at least 3 weeks after they return home to prevent spreading Zika to uninfected local mosquitoes. See CDC’s Travelers’ Health Zika webpage for more information on international travel precautions.

Preventing Sexual Transmission

Pregnant women whose sexual partners have traveled to or lived in an area with a Zika outbreak (as indicated by red areas on the Zika map) or other areas with risk of Zika (as indicated by purple areas on the Zika map) should use condoms every time they have sex (vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and sharing of sex toys) or not have sex during the entire pregnancy. For more information, see Zika and Sexual Transmission.

Pretest Counseling

If Zika testing for a pregnant woman is indicated, healthcare providers should provide pretest counseling. Healthcare providers should

  • Provide the patient with information on the complexity of Zika testing, including the following points:
    • More than one Zika test may be required before a final result is determined.
    • Understanding test results can be challenging.
    • Previous exposure to Zika virus or another related virus (e.g., dengue virus) could affect test results during pregnancy.
  • Discuss with patients what test results could mean for their pregnancy.

Patient Materials

For Pregnant Women: A Positive Zika Virus Test: What does it mean for me?