World Health Organization: Delay Pregnancy in Zika-Affected Areas

A reluctant suggestion for family planning.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jun 2016
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Photo: Shutterstock/CDC

A bold recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) this week: People living in areas affected by Zika should consider postponing pregnancy to avoid having babies born with birth defects.

Just how many moms with Zika actually give birth to babies with microcephaly, the neurological condition linked to the Zika virus? That answer is still unclear, but researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) think that when Zika is contracted during the first trimester, the risk falls somewhere between 1 and 13 percent. Interestingly, the CDC is not going so far as to make the same suggestion as WHO that couples postpone pregnancy, citing that as a personal decision. However, they recommend access to contraception.

The new WHO suggestion does not apply to much of the United State; the Zika virus has only been locally transmitted in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa territory. Internationally, the following areas are affected:

  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Commonwealth of
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Venezuela
  • Fiji
  • Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • Cape Verde

Whether or not you decide to push back baby making in light of Zika (a hot topic among The Bump users), it is important to protect yourself from mosquitos. Find out how women in the US are taking precautions here.

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