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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > U-Z > Zika virus > Zika and Pregnant Women
 
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby's head is smaller than expected. In addition to microcephaly, other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth.
 
Researchers are collecting data to better understand these risks. To understand more about the risks of infection with Zika virus during pregnancy, the CDC has established the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry. Regularly-updated reports of pregnancy outcomes for women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection are available from the CDC. These numbers are not comparable to previous
reports, as they reflect a different, broader,
population of pregnant women.  
 
The CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and must travel to these areas should consult with their health care provider and take extra care to protect themselves from mosquito bites when traveling to an area known to have Zika transmission. A list of these areas can be found at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.
 
Men who have recently traveled to a Zika-affected area and have a pregnant partner should take steps to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus. Pregnant women should abstain from sex or use a condom for the duration of the pregnancy every time they have sex with a partner who traveled to or lived in a Zika-affected area, even if the partner has tested negative for Zika virus.
 
At this time, there is no evidence that Zika virus infection poses risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from a woman’s blood. It is believed that once a person has been infected with Zika virus, he or she is not likely to become infected with Zika virus again.
 
Families that would like to speak to someone about a possible Zika virus infection or diagnosis during pregnancy and risk to the baby are recommended to contact experts at MotherToBaby, a free and confidential non-profit that is dedicated to providing evidence-based information to mothers.