The CDC has issued updated Zika prevention guidelines for couples of child-bearing age.
Any couple that is trying to get pregnant or is even sexually active will want to understand the newest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on Zika prevention. And this time, the advice applies primarily to men.
Until now, males who may have been exposed to the mosquito-borne virus were advised to use condoms to prevent transmission to their partners for a period of eight weeks. But now, the CDC is urging them to practice safe sex for six months following a potential exposure, even if they don't have any symptoms. That's right—this guideline applies to all men who might have been exposed to the virus, whether or not they show any signs of being infected. That's because in most cases, Zika has mild or no symptoms at all.
And this advice holds true whether you are TTC, or just enjoying intimacy with your partner. Because as we well know, sometimes a pregnancy can, um, just happen.
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It cannot be stressed enough how catastrophic Zika's effects on a fetus can be. From microcephaly to hearing loss and developmental delays, doctors and scientists are still learning how the virus can damage babies during pregnancy. With that in mind, the CDC is recommending delaying a pregnancy for the six-month period after a potential exposure. It is also urging pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and their partners not to travel to areas with current Zika outbreaks.
Planning a pregnancy? Make sure to get the most up-to-date information on Zika, including a comprehensive list of the travel advisories for couples who are planning to have a baby.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming, and exercising and drinking coffee, but not simultaneously.