Counseling guide: Preconception, prenatal, and postpartum counseling in the context of the Zika epidemic

This English version of the Zika counseling guide (vea la version en español) was revised from the original guide published in Spanish in October 2016 to include updated Zika guidance and feedback from USAID and implementing partners involved in the Zika response. Based on national and international counseling norms, the guide has been designed to help healthcare practitioners who provide care to women of reproductive age in the regions affected by the Zika virus.

The Zika counseling guide addresses questions such as:

  • What is counseling and how does it differ from other forms of interpersonal communication?
  • What conditions and counselor characteristics are conducive for counseling?
  • Which communication skills are used in counseling?
  • What are the steps in counseling?
  • What tools can help offer high-quality counseling?

The guide also provides practical recommendations on the prevention and management of Zika, covering topics like:

  • Prevention of sexual transmission for people living in areas with and without active transmission of the Zika virus
  • Risks to the baby if the mother is infected with Zika during pregnancy
  • Protective measures in the home and surroundings
  • Importance of those of reproductive age understanding the risk of contracting or having Zika virus infection during pregnancy
  • Family planning and emergency contraceptive counseling in the context of the Zika epidemic
  • Prenatal counseling when a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with a confirmed Zika infection or when the fetus has suspected or confirmed diagnosis of congenital Zika syndrome
  • Postpartum counseling when a newborn has been diagnosed with congenital Zika syndrome Referral for psychological support for the mother of the newborn with congenital Zika syndrome
  • Referral for treatment and monitoring of the newborn with congenital Zika syndrome
  • Referral for neurological and other developmental follow-up of children born to mothers with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of Zika infection during pregnancy

Click here to download the Counseling guide: Preconception, prenatal, and postpartum counseling in the context of the Zika epidemic

The guide also includes three counseling job aids—for balanced counseling in family planning, prenatal counseling in the context of Zika, and postpartum counseling in the context of Zika. Presented in the form of counseling algorithms, the use of the job aids is explained in the body of the guide. The three counseling algorithms may be downloaded as separate files below:

  1. Balanced counseling in family planning
  2. Prenatal counseling
  3. Postpartum counseling
Report Author(s): 
Elena Hurtado and Mélida Chaguaceda
ASSIST publication: 
ASSIST publication
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