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Promoting Stress Management for Pregnant Women during the Zika Virus Disease Outbreak

A Resource for Healthcare Providers

Depending upon where they live or where they have recently traveled, it is understandable for your patients to be worried about Zika.  Zika is an emerging infectious disease and we are learning new information about it every day.  There is a lot we don’t know about Zika and the unknowns can be scary for expectant parents.  

Pregnancy can already be a stressful time for women and their partners.  In addition to common concerns about becoming a parent, many expectant mothers worry about the health of their pregnancy and the health of their baby.  The emergence of Zika virus can be an additional unsettling consideration for those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. 

Managing stress for women who want to conceive and women who are pregnant is important for promoting healthier pregnancies, healthier births, and better long-term health outcomes for families.  Prenatal stress can effect neonatal development and increase the risk for preterm labor, preterm birth, and low birth weight. 

As a healthcare provider, concerned patients may ask you questions about the risk of Zika virus to their pregnancy, or you may notice symptoms of stress and anxiety.  You have an opportunity to provide accurate information and resources about Zika, and also to provide information about how managing stress is important for the health and wellbeing of the pregnant woman and her fetus.