Early support, stress management strategies, and psychosocial interventions should be offered to all pregnant women and their partners, regardless of Zika exposure status. Relaxation during pregnancy may have positive effects on fetal development and neonatal outcomes. Share the following stress management strategies with your patient:
Take a break from hearing or reading about news and media coverage of Zika. Too much information and misinformation can increase anxiety. Suggest that they pick a few trusted sources and times during the week to look for information updates and then refrain from focusing on media coverage of the virus.
Find activities that bring them joy and keep them in the moment. Suggest that they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, get regular exercise, or try yoga or meditation to ease stress.
Manage stress with online tools. There are many online and mobile apps available for stress management, meditation, and healthy pregnancy tips such as Breathe2Relax.
Reach out to family and friends. Having good social support is important for individual resilience and stress management. Suggest that they engage in enjoyable activities with family and friends and identify people to talk with to help alleviate some of the stress.
Be proactive. Consider utilizing CDC’s preventive measures for Zika for the whole family.
For additional information, visit trusted sources such as CDC’s Zika website, Mother to Baby, March of Dimes, and text4baby (Text BABY to 511411). Several of these websites also have materials available in Spanish. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has numerous resources including Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.