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Zika virus exposure and pregnant

(20 Posts)
Fefifoefum Wed 05-Jul-17 22:50:12

I need some advice/someone with some experience.
We went to Mexico on holiday and when we booked I read the advice on Zika and conception and it said to wait 28 days, we ended up concieving very quickly, I'm now 4+4 pregnant and we have been back for 9 weeks.
However the guidelines have changed (or I didn't read the most up to date?!) and now reccomend women wait 8 weeks to conceive and if men have been to wait 6 months (can be sexually transmitted?).
We didn't have any symptoms and I was only bitten twice and my DH not at all.

Has anyone got any experience of the tests? Do I ring the midwife service, despite being so early/no contact yet? Do I need bloods? I'm worried this is going to hang over the whole pregnancy.
Advice for an overly worried lady please!

Gunpowder Thu 06-Jul-17 12:22:10

I don't have experience of this but a friend got tested for Zika in London. It cost about £150. I think the results took about a week. I would imagine given you are pregnant you would be able to get testing on the NHS. I'd speak to your GP. Chances are you are fine, but like you I wouldn't want it hanging over me. Congratulations on your pregnancy.

Jessybear90 Thu 06-Jul-17 19:40:07

Hi OP I can confirm that you cannot get a test for Zika on the NHS you will have to pay for a private test. The reason being the government board for health says pregnant women must avoid travelling to a Zika country and think twice about the timing of TTC. I know this because we booked to go to a Zika country and then I fell pregnant and we researched it to see if we could get tested etc then decided almost straight away it wasn't worth the risk so we changed the destination.

I highly highly doubt you would have contacted it, if you hardly got bitten because not every single insect is a carrier but the risk is still there (however small or unlikely that may be) if you really are worried just get a private blood test, think they are around £150 x

GlitteryFluff Thu 06-Jul-17 19:45:24

I'd have the test to put your mind at rest flowers

onemoremummy Wed 09-Aug-17 22:59:28

I did lots of research on this as I was so worried about it, and read somewhere that the 8 weeks is to be super conservative, that what they know is that the virus can live in the body for up to 2 weeks from when you get symptoms. So really even if you had zika on your last day your baby would most likely be fine. There are no (ZERO!) known cases of a baby having problems for pregnancies which started after having the virus, only when women had the virus when they were still pregnant.

user1499087140 Mon 23-Oct-17 22:32:58

I just wondered how you got on with the midwife and what the advice was?
We visited Mexico over 4 months ago and aren’t TTC.

Fefifoefum Tue 24-Oct-17 10:57:22

The midwife was not concerned in the slightest! She said the odds were so low, and you can’t be tested after that long so we’d just have to wait and see. I think so little is known about it and the advice is worst case.

I’m 21 weeks now and the anomaly scan was all perfectly normal 😊

ReggaetonLente Sat 23-Dec-17 01:29:33

Sorry to crash on this thread, but I'm going out of mind. Currently 6+6 and visited my GP for the first time today.

We went to Mexico back in mid May, so almost 7 months ago. I was cautious about mosquitos while there - used Deet, sun cream with insect repellent, wore long sleeved long trousers PJs, kept windows shut etc. We were staying right on the beach, so next to salt water and very breezy, in a private and very well kept villa (only mention this to explain no obvious mosquito breeding sites etc). In fact I don't remember seeing one mosquito. We did go to the jungle one day, but smothered in Deet, and the restaurant we ate at that evening burned those stinky fires that are meant to keep them away. For what it's worth, neither DH or I notice or recall being bitten once.

Back then the advice I found online was to use condoms while there and for 8 weeks after returning, which we duly did - in fact, for different reasons, we ended up using them for 5 months, stopping in mid October.

However, the advice now is to use condoms for 6 whole months after possible zika exposure. I mentioned this to my GP, just as an FYI really, and her reaction has really scared me - I left the surgery in tears. She said she had to inform Public Health England, call the School of Tropical Diseases, and has booked me in for another appointment 2 days after Christmas. She's told me not to worry... but how can I not! I think in my heart of hearts I expected her to not be bothered, I thought I was being overly anxious. She wants me to have blood tests, early scans, the lot. Which I know is good of her, but it's terrified me.

I conceived mid November, so it's only looking like a few days inside that 6 month window, which seems to be what's concerning her. She's said that zika is a real grey area at the moment, that guidelines are always changing and there's a lot we don't know. She wants to refer me as a high risk pregnancy.

I've been Googling and researching all day since my appointment. I guess I just thought I'd post here for some reassurance, if anyone could give me any. I'm so scared that my ignorance has harmed my baby, I feel sick constantly and it's even crossed my mind if I should terminate this much wanted, already loved baby, which makes me feel even more guilty.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Or have any words or wisdom?

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 23-Dec-17 01:55:13

I live in a zika area and I've had it. Trust me you'd know. People have been having babies since the outbreak. No problems. Try to relax.

ReggaetonLente Sat 23-Dec-17 02:02:53

Thanks Lino. The common sense side of me knows what you're saying is true, but the GP's reaction was just so not what I expected.

From my research, of the 4000 odd pregnant women diagnosed with zika in Mexico, only one has given birth to a baby with microcephaly, the birth defect which first alerted the world to zika as a tetrogen. Seeing as we know microcephaly is also linked to drug/alcohol abuse, poor nutrition and sanitation, environmental exposures e.g. pesticides, not just zika... I don't even know what I'm trying to say. Just holding on to the fact that my baby is incredibly unlikely to have been affected in that way.

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 23-Dec-17 09:46:37

That's certainly true, when you live in a Zika area and you want to have a baby, you don't have the option of waiting 6 months after you come home from the zika risk area. People just go on as before. I know 6 babies born recently and none have microcephaly I've never seen a child with microcephaly, there's no one in our community with it but I've squished many aedes aegypti mosquitoes here, so we certainly have them.

ReggaetonLente Sat 23-Dec-17 09:57:02

Thanks again Lino. I know, I have been thinking of all the women who have no choice.

Hoping the obstetrician registrar on Tuesday will know more and will be able to put my mind at rest. I don't think there's any point testing me for zika - it can go through your system in two days, so a negative now wouldn't mean I never had it. I suppose I am very naive and fortunate but it's the first time I've ever been to a doctor and been told 'we don't know enough about this, we cant give you reassurance'. Suppose that's why they go with the worst case scenario.

onemoremummy Mon 25-Dec-17 14:08:51

I was in the same position, for pregnant 5 months after a visit to Brazil. Doctors were all very reassuring, your GP seems to have had a massive overreaction.

Your baby WILL be fine!!! Mine was born with a massive head fwiw.

ReggaetonLente Mon 25-Dec-17 15:52:31

Onemore thank you for the best message I will probably see all Christmas! That's made me smile.

Did you have to have extra scans etc?

Hope you have a lovely day with your little one.

onemoremummy Tue 26-Dec-17 08:56:12

Not extra scans at all, whenever I brought it up with midwives and even the consultant I saw (related to a separate issue from my previous pregnancy) they were SO dismissive and said I definitely wouldn’t get any extra scans for that.

I did pay for a private scan at 32 weeks (I wanted to check blood flow to placenta etc) and did find it reassuring though, but honestly, you should just let go and enjoy your pregnancy.

There haven’t been ANY cases of babies born with complications when the mother got pregnant AFTER contracting Zika. And in your case, 5 months after??? That would be the first registered case in the whole world!!!! Just relax!!

onemoremummy Tue 26-Dec-17 08:58:00

Actually I even know someone who did get the extra scans but that’s because she went to Brazil when she was 6 weeks pregnant!! At the height of the epidemic! And her baby is perfect 😊

ReggaetonLente Tue 26-Dec-17 13:53:41

Thanks again onemore, really helpful to hear smile

They're worried that zika can survive up to 6 months in sperm, and so would infect the baby that way - but this is a fairly recent discovery and they don't know much about how it works. Zika viral particles only stayed in sperm post infection in 50% of men studied, and 95% of them cleared it within 3 months. In fact only 1 man in the whole study kept the viral particles for 6, which is the worst case scenario the new guidelines are based on.

And they don't even know if those viral particles would be enough to infect, or are just the useless bits left behind by the immune system. So much they don't yet understand.

Feel like I could write a book! Just trying to prepare for my unsolicited emergency appointment tomorrow. This has not been the most fun of Christmases. Hopefully the doctor tomorrow will take a more measured approach.

Thanks again for your kind words, I really appreciate them.

onemoremummy Tue 26-Dec-17 17:22:14

It’s not that new a discovery, they first realised this in June / July 2016, so it’s been over a year. Since they realised Zika causes pregnancy problems (December 2015), they’ve been tracking most cases in the most affected countries, and as I said, there’s never been a case of complications when the pregnancy occurs after infection. The risk is a theoretical one rather than based on actual cases!

I’d wish you luck at your appointment tomorrow but I’m pretty sure it will be fine 😊.

ReggaetonLente Thu 28-Dec-17 22:45:30

Hello, just wanted to update on my very reassuring appointment! The doctor was lovely and even put me on the phone with the School of Tropical Diseases, who told me it's almost certain I have nothing to worry about. The antenatal team have all the info in my referral, but the doctor said she's seen so many ladies in my position, some who even conceived in zika areas (big Latin American community in our area) and all of their babies are fine and healthy. She says she even saw one earlier that day for vaccinations!

I may have to have extra growth scans but the doctor said that'll just be a chance for me to see more of my lovely baby. She was absolutely amazing and I even hugged her when I left smile

onemoremummy Fri 29-Dec-17 10:55:49

I’m so pleased for you!!! Now make sure you keep your mind off of it, and enjoy getting that extra free scan (I had to pay quite a bit for mine 😫)!!!

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