When you are pregnant, the last thing you want to worry about is the possibility of contracting a potentially dangerous illness that could affect your unborn child. However, with the sudden appearance of the Zika virus all throughout the Americas, including confirmed cases through mosquito bites in the state of Florida, the possibility seems all the more real each and every day. The question is, what do you do if you are pregnant and then are diagnosed with the Zika virus? Get to know more about Zika and pregnancy as well as your options for dealing with the situation so that you and your ob/gyn can best handle the situation.
Zika Virus Can Cause Serious Fetal Health Issues
The effects that the Zika virus can have on a growing fetus are potentially serious. The most well-known of these issues is microcephaly, a rare condition in which the head and skull (and therefore the brain) are abnormally small. This condition can be fatal and causes severe developmental and neurological issues and deficiencies.
However, microcephaly is not the only issue that the Zika virus can cause. There are numerous other neurological effects that Zika can have on a fetus and many of these effects are not easily detectable on pre-natal scans or tests. In fact, some of the conditions and deficiencies are not well understood in the long-term. They may not be noticed until later on in infancy, toddlerhood or childhood and can range from mild to severe impairments.
Zika Does Not Always Negatively Affect a Fetus
While the possible effects of Zika virus on an unborn child can seem frightening, it is also important to keep in mind that they do not always occur. Because the link between this particular virus and birth defects has been made so recently, it is difficult for researchers and doctors to accurately determine what the likelihood of birth defects and neurological effects is when a woman who is pregnant contracts Zika virus.
However, it is known that not all pregnant women with Zika virus give birth to a child with a genetic issue or abnormality. The risks of your unborn child developing birth defects are more likely if you contract Zika when you are still in your first trimester. For example, the risks of microcephaly are as high as 13 percent when a woman contracts Zika during the first trimester. Later in pregnancy, there are still risks but they chances are thought to be lower.
What You Can Do
In the early stages of pregnancy, you still have options regarding your pregnancy. If you are concerned about the possibility that your child will develop microcephaly or other neurological disorders, you could opt for an abortion to avoid those potential risks. However, if you are not comfortable with that choice, you can work closely with your ob/gyn and reproductive health services team to monitor your pregnancy and look for signs of trouble.
If you get regular ultrasounds and other tests as well as prepare for the possibility of neurological conditions, you will be able to better handle the situation after you give birth. Microcephaly can be detected in an ultrasound, whereas other conditions might not be. As such, you will want to find a pediatrician and medical team for your child that will be able and willing to run tests and scans on your child after they are born to try to detect any noticeable conditions.
Now that you know more about what you can do if you are pregnant and diagnosed with Zika, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to handle the situation properly. For more information, contact a clinic that offersreproductive health services.