Conduct a risk assessment regarding Zika exposure. Understanding the level of risk and whether women have been infected can help you and patients understand how best to manage some of their concerns about Zika virus. For example, if the patient has not traveled to an area where there is active transmission of Zika, does not live in an area where there is active transmission, or does not have a spouse or partner that has traveled to an area where there is active Zika transmission, then you may be able to reassure the patient that they have a very low risk and help alleviate their concerns. For those with higher risk, follow the CDC clinical guidance and check for updates as new information becomes available.
Show empathy and acknowledge concerns and worries.
Provide reassurance. Reassure your patients that it is normal to have concerns during pregnancy. However, if their worries are significant and affecting their daily life, patients may benefit from seeking support from a mental health professional. Provide stress management guidance and strategies such as the ones described below.
Have a conversation about the concerns and worries. Correct any misinformation and share what you know is accurate. Provide references to legitimate sources of information about Zika for pregnant women. Information for pregnant women is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at
www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy. You can also find Zika information, guidance, and resources for health care providers at
Provide a mental health referral, if needed. Provide information about where to seek additional professional mental health support, if needed. This may be a good opportunity to screen for anxiety or depression using one of the tools listed below.