Literally within days of an exciting return from our holiday in Mexico to find out I was pregnant, slightly alarming headlines emblazoned the front of most news papers worldwide. A basically unheard of disease (at least here in Europe) was now multiplying its way through South and Central America.
I was panicked, due to being 100% sure we’d conceived in Mexico just a weeks before. I began doing what is always ill advised and Googling everything there was to Google about it. At that point there wasn’t much information available – mainly scientists scrambling to find out causes, spread and effect. There was no vaccine and no foolproof way of being sure if you had it or not. One in five sufferers had had a fever and rash which disappeared within a week or so. I started to frantically recall whether either of us had been even the faintest bit unwell whilst away – we hadn’t, but like most Brits abroad, we’d been bitten all over by mosquitos daily, despite showering in bug spray.
Back to the doctors in hope of some reassurance but being such a new thing, sadly she didn’t really know what to say to me as she hadn’t herself been given any information. She did try to assure me that it was mainly Brazil that was the area of concern and that if I hadn’t had any symptoms I shouldn’t worry. That is of course easier said that done, particularly when your hormones are raging all over the place anyway!
Some weeks passed and I felt in a slightly better place mentally. I’d had my 12 week scan and everything seemed to be progressing normally and at the 20 week scan they did all the thorough routine tests which didn’t seem to bring up anything out of the ordinary. I was particularly worried about head size (mainly due to everything that’s been in the media) but thankfully that seemed to be ok too.
I would be lying if I said that I’m now completely fine about it and not worried about it at all, but having had lots of blood tests, scans etc and the midwives assuring me everything is going well, I am happier and far less anxious.
It is obviously an extremely serious disease for pregnant woman and those looking to conceive. However since January, experts seemed to have made good progress into research and there is now a vaccine on the horizon.
If you are pregnant or thinking of conceiving whilst travelling in any of the effected countries, the best thing to do would be seek advice from your GP before you go, remembering that men can also be effected by Zika and pass it on through semen.