Based on studies and evidences, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations about pregnancy planning and the timing of pregnancy after possible exposure to Zika virus.
Studies found a link between Zika and microcephaly, a birth defect that is a sign of incomplete brain development, and possibly other problems such as miscarriage and stillbirth.
According to the health agency, women diagnosed with Zika virus should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant. Similarly, men are recommended to wait at least 6 months after their symptoms first appeared to have unprotected sex.
For men and women without symptoms of Zika virus but who had possible exposure to Zika from recent travel or sexual contact, CDC recommends waiting at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant in order to minimize risk.
For men and women living in an area with active Zika transmission, the health agency recommends healthcare providers talk with their patients about their pregnancy plans during a Zika virus outbreak, the potential risks of Zika, and how they can prevent Zika virus infection.
“These are very complex, deeply personal decisions, and we are communicating the potential risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy for people who live in areas with active transmission. We are encouraging health care providers to have conversations with women and their partners about pregnancy planning, their individual circumstances and strategies to prevent unintended pregnancies,” CDC said in a statement.
Men are recommend to use condoms every time they have sex or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy. This is an advice for men living in or traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission and have a pregnant partner.
“Condoms must be used correctly from start to finish, every time during sex.”
Couples with men with confirmed Zika or symptoms should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 6 months after symptoms begin. Men who traveled to an area with Zika but did not develop symptoms of Zika should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 8 weeks after their return in order to minimize risk.
Men living in an area with Zika but have not developed symptoms might consider using condoms or not having sex while there is active Zika transmission in the area.
“Couples who do not want to get pregnant should use the most effective contraceptive methods that they can use consistently and correctly, and they should also use condoms to prevent the sexual transmission of Zika. Couples who are trying to get pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider,” CDC said.