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I’m planning on getting pregnant. Do I need to postpone having a baby?

Wendy Rigby
Texas Public Radio

It depends. For now, most women in Texas can decide to have children with no threat to their future baby’s health. If you have not been to a Zika-infected region and you are not conceiving with a partner who has either visited one of those regions or has been infected with Zika, then it is safe to go ahead with your baby plans.

However, women who have had a Zika infection are advised to wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms began before attempting to conceive.

For men who have been infected, the wait is even longer. The Zika virus can linger in the semen for several months. Men are advised to wait t least six months to conceive a child after their infection. In the meantime, they are encouraged to wear condoms and practice safe sex. Sexual contact of any kind (vaginal, anal, oral, sex toys) can potentially spread the virus.

If/when Zika-infected mosquitoes directly sicken people in Texas (as in Florida), doctors may advise women of child-bearing age to take extra personal precautions as they conceive, with aggressive mosquito control.

Here’s the good news. A Zika infection does not harm future pregnancies for a women who is not pregnant when she gets infected.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization advised people living in regions with widespread Zika (like Brazil) to delay pregnancy. Most public health officials say they are not expecting that kind of intense outbreak here in Texas.

If you are thinking of conceiving, don’t travel to places with Zika outbreaks. You can check out an on-going, updated list of those locations at cdc.gov/zika.

Consult your own physician if you have doubts about whether now is a good time for you to have a baby.

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.