We discovered I was pregnant during our trip to Costa Rica. It was midway through and both of us were surprised. Namely at how quickly it’d taken us to conceive. So many of my friends and family (8 women in fact) were going through IVF so after spending so many years on the pill, it did make me pause and think about how lucky we were . And how unprepared we were.
Costa Rica is a hot spot for Zika virus. It’s a disease spread by mosquitos. According to the NHS, for many it’s not really that harmful and actually many times goes unnoticed. But if you’re pregnant, it’s a whole other kettle of fish. It can cause birth defects. Zika in new born babies is particularly identifiable by a baby’s cone shaped head. It’s advised that pregnant women shouldn’t visit Zika virus areas but it was something I was very unaware of when we went.
Common symptoms include those similar to early pregnancy symptoms:
- itching all over the body
- joint pain (with possible swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet)
- muscle pain
- conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- lower back pain
- pain behind the eyes
Tropical Disease Hospital
As soon as I landed in the UK I made my GP appointment to discuss the newly discovered pregnancy and the risks associated with Zika. I’d been to some jungles, I’d been bitten around 24 times – some of which had become infected and one in particular growing enormously.
Determined not to let it stress me out (no point until you know), I sensibly gave my details, spoke to the midwife and made it priority to schedule a call with an expert. Luckily for me, it was a really sweet doctor from the top tropical disease hospital in London who called me and put me at ease. She explained that in her time practicing, it’s been so rare for someone to return with the disease and have their baby infected too. She proceeded to tell me that with no current symptoms, I’d have to pay for a test which ultimately is unreliable in its result.
One sure way of checking that baby is fine is through the scans. For those who’ve had a scan, you’ll know how in detail the measuring is. So thankfully, they’ve been keeping an eye on everything. I’ve been fortunate to have been given two additional scans through the NHS because of it and had a private scan just to make sure. We would know by now if there was a problem so thankfully everything has been fine so far.
If you think you or your baby is at risk of Zika virus, contact your GP.