Society

Scarred by Zika, Brazilian women say ‘no’ to pandemic pregnancies

The Zika epidemic caused widespread fear among Brazilian women of reproductive age, as the virus was linked to birth defects. A similar scare has been seen during the Covid-19 pandemic

zika fears covid pandemic
Brazil set new Covid-19 records in 2021, with up to 4,000 people dying per day. Photo: Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

“We have to avoid pregnancy,” said Rosa, about the possibility of having a child during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I don’t want to have a baby. What I went through in 2017 when I had Raíssa, God forbid.”

Living in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, Rosa’s first child Raíssa was born during the Zika epidemic, the mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe birth defects when contracted during pregnancy.

Between 2015 and 2017, some 3,700 babies in Brazil were born with Zika-related microcephaly, a congenital malformation by which children are born with abnormally small heads. These babies are now...

Access all of The Brazilian Report
Start your 7-day free trial.
Free trial