October 2016
Relevant Webinar

In this webinar, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Medical Association (AMA) discuss the clinical and epidemiologic aspects of Zika virus, its implications for pregnant women, and guidance for clinicians.

Did you miss a previous Every Woman Southeast webinar? All of our archived webinars can be found on our website here .
Zika Prevention

Zika Virus Prevention: Summary for the General Public
Zika Virus Prevention: Summary for the General Public

There are multiple effective steps that people can take to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the spread of Zika virus. This video from the CDC briefly discusses each of them. For more information, go to cdc.gov/zika.
Click here to view an infographic that discusses the top five things everyone needs to know about Zika virus.

Other infographics related to Zika can be found on the CDC website here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is at the forefront of the Zika virus epidemic. Their website hosts information on Zika for all audiences, including healthcare providers, public health professionals, and the public.

CDC's  Zika Key Messages Guide provides a  "snapshot" of information for all Zika-related topics, including sexual transmission, pregnancy and the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, related birth defects, information for those not considering pregnancy, and recommendations for clinicians and other public health professionals. 

For women considering pregnancy, or those who are pregnant, see CDC's Topic of the Week Promotional Toolkit for social media messages on this topic, as well as a list of recent Zika-related publications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) works to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Together with governments and other partners, they strive to combat various diseases, including Zika. View their website, and that of the Pan American Health Organization, for information and resources on this epidemic.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) champions the health of all people and communities and speaks out for public health issues and policies backed by science. APHA Zika-related resources are available on their website, along with links to other organizations working to combat Zika virus.

Improving the health of the nation is at the core of the American Medical Association (AMA)'s work to enhance the delivery of care and enable physicians and health teams to partner with patients to achieve better health for all. Their website hosts a wealth of Zika-related resources for physicians and the public alike.

For years the March of Dimes has led the way in the discovery of genetic causes of birth defects, promoting newborn screening, and educating medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. For women and couples that desire pregnancy, their website has a wealth of information about Zika and pregnancy.
Zika Virus & Women's Preconception Health
Did you know that each year in the United States nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended? Are you wondering what this statistic has to do with Zika virus? 

Because Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, it is more important than ever for women and their partners to consider their pregnancy intentions and timing, particularly if they live in an area with active Zika transmission. We know that decisions about pregnancy planning are personal, but with consultation from a healthcare provider, women and their partners can effectively prevent mistimed or unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of having a pregnancy affected by Zika virus. 
How should women of reproductive age be counseled, especially if they reside in areas with active Zika transmission? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthcare providers discuss reproductive life plans, including pregnancy intentions and timing, with all women of reproductive age. A reproductive life plan helps a woman think about her goals for having or not having children and how to achieve these goals. 

It is important to note that these discussions present an opportunity for couples and their providers to discuss more than just Zika virus. Healthcare providers can also use this time to discuss other preconception health behaviors, such as not using tobacco, managing chronic conditions, and screening and treating for any existing sexually transmitted infections.
If a woman wants to delay or avoid pregnancy at this time, what methods can be used to prevent pregnancy?  Women and their partners should be counseled about all contraceptive methods , including the availability and effectiveness of different methods and how to use them . Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, are the most effective for preventing pregnancy. If another method is chosen, it is important that it be used correctly and consistently. Because Zika can also be transmitted sexually, condoms should be used the right way every time to prevent this and other sexually transmitted diseases. Condom use is particularly important if a partner has had possible Zika virus exposure or Zika virus disease. Healthcare providers should ensure that women have access to whichever method best meets their needs. 
Further information is available at 
CDC's Contraception  and  CDC's Contraceptive Guidance for Healthcare Providers  webpages.

How should couples who want to conceive and live in areas with active Zika virus transmission be counseled for preconception care? If a woman and her partner decide that pregnancy is an option now or at some point in the next year, they should discuss with their healthcare providers the risks of Zika virus transmission, as well as ways that women and their partners can protect themselves from getting Zika during pregnancy. This discussion should include:
  • An assessment of the risk of Zika exposure, including the presence of mosquitoes in and around the home, levels of local transmission of Zika, and practiced protective measures;
  • Signs and symptoms of Zika;
  • Possible adverse outcomes of Zika infection during pregnancy; and
  • Personal factors that might influence the timing of pregnancy: fertility, age, reproductive history, medical history, personal values/preferences.
Taking protective measures has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of vector-borne diseases, however, it might not be possible to completely eliminate the risk of Zika virus exposure during conception or pregnancy. The decision on timing of pregnancy is a personal decision and should be made by women or couples in consultation with their healthcare provider.

It is also VERY important for couples to be given information about other actions they should take to reduce their risk for poor birth outcomes. These include not using tobacco products, avoiding alcohol, managing chronic conditions, treating sexually transmitted infections, not taking medications that are teraterogenic, and being at a healthy body weight. Learn more at www.showyourlovetoday.com
New Blog Post!

In this passionate blog, " GOP Excludes Birth Control From Zika Bill, Playing Political Games with Children's Health,"  Slate staff writer Christina Cauterucci discusses how a lack of funding for the distribution of contraceptives -- a pillar in the CDC's Zika Response Plan -- puts future children at risk for severe birth defects.

UPDATE: Congress agreed to allocate $1.1 billion to combat Zika on September 28, 2016.

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