It looks like the Zika virus might not cause birth defects in every case. One woman gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby after being infected with the virus.
A woman in Mexico gave birth to a "clinically healthy" baby boy, according to Mexico's health ministry. What's newsworthy about this? The fact that the woman contracted a confirmed case of the Zika virus while pregnant and the virus did not seem to affect the health of her baby.
The woman is from the town of Pijijiapan but delivered her baby in the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez. The baby, who weighed in at six pounds, was deemed healthy after an examination.
The woman is one of six known Mexican women who contracted the virus while pregnant—the other five are receiving specialized care throughout their pregnancies and are being observed via regular ultrasounds.
The fact that this woman gave birth to a healthy baby might lessen some pregnant women's worries about the danger Zika—the virus has been linked to microcephaly, a disorder that causes a baby to be born with an abnormally small head. In light of this woman's delivery, it seems like the connection between Zika and microcephaly might not be so clear-cut.
Add this bit of information to the list of things that may ease your Zika worries: Of the other five women who were infected with the virus, two have cleared the 28-week mark of pregnancy and show no signs of carrying children who have microcephaly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we'll need more research in order to determine a woman's odds of giving birth to a child with microcephaly if she's exposed to the Zika virus—the CDC also points out that other factors (like genetics, maternal infections and exposure to toxins) could cause microcephaly as well.
As of right now, while we can take comfort in this woman's story, it's important to continue following the precautions laid out by the CDC for pregnant women, by avoiding countries with reported cases of Zika virus, protecting yourself from mosquitos if you are there and abstaining or using condoms with a male partner who has travelled to an affected destination.