Zika and Birth Defects

By: Priyanka Venkataraman, MD

Pregnant or trying soon? Planning to travel? Please read before you travel.

Dear Readers,

A lot of people are unaware of the ZIKA virus that can cause lifelong, devastating problems for your child. This is a concern for pregnant women and those women getting pregnant soon as Zika virus infection can cause certain birth defects. Unfortunately, there is NO VACCINE to prevent and NO MEDICINE to treat Zika. The best thing to do is to avoid getting infected by not traveling to any area with risk of Zika.

I am hoping we can provide you with some preliminary information, especially, if you have travel plans and are pregnant or considering pregnancy soon!

Please feel free to contact your healthcare provider for more up-to-date information as information is still being gathered on the effects of Zika virus, the optimum testing time, the regions it has spread to and what pregnant mothers should watch out for.

Aedes albopictus

Below is a little information from the CDC Website for women who are pregnant and considering travel. For the full bulletin, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/Zika/pdfs/ZIKA-PregnancyTravel.pdf

What we know about Zika:

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
  • Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika.
  • Zika infection during pregnancy can cause certain severe birth defects including brain abnormalities like microcephaly (congenitally small head).
  • Children with microcephaly often have serious problems with development and can have other neurologic problems, like seizures.
  • Zika may be associated with early or late pregnancy loss.
  • Among fetus and infants infected with Zika before birth, Zika may be associated with stillbirth, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth.


  • Pregnant women should NOT travel to areas with risk of Zika.
  • If you have a sex partner who lives in or travels to an area with risk of Zika, you should use condoms from start to finish every time you have sex, or do not have sex during the pregnancy.
  • If you have been exposed and/or have symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider right away for testing.

Trying to become pregnant?

  • Women trying to get pregnant and their male partners should consider avoiding nonessential travel to areas with risk of Zika.

Travel notice

Symptoms of Zika

  • Most people with Zika won’t even know they have it. The symptoms are usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Most common symptoms are: Fever, Rash, Headache, Joint pain, Red eyes, Muscle pain.



Information for patients

English – https://www.acog.org/-/media/Departments/Toolkits-for-Health-Care-Providers/PFSI011-Zika-Infographic-ENGLISH.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20170917T1906259146

Spanish – https://www.acog.org/-/media/Departments/Toolkits-for-Health-Care-Providers/PFSI011-Zika-InfographicSP.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20170917T1906427583

Video :

English – https://vimeo.com/183692399

Spanish – https://vimeo.com/188016766


Venkataraman, Priyanka MD.jpg


To learn more about Dr. Venkataraman or request an appointment, visit http://bit.ly/2x2FWBv


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