- Meghan Markle announced her pregnancy this morning during a tour of Australia and nations in the South Pacific, including Tonga and Fiji.
- Pregnant women are currently being advised not to visit Tonga or Fiji because there is still a risk of catching Zika virus, which can affect the development of babies in the womb.
- Meghan is sticking to the visits anyway – reportedly after taking medical advice and deciding it was safe to proceed.
Meghan Markle is visiting regions in the Pacific at risk of Zika virus while pregnant, even though official medical advice says expectant mothers should steer clear.
The Duchess of Sussex announced her pregnancy on arrival in Australia for the two-week tour of Commonwealth nations in the region, which includes stops in the Zika-prone nations of Fiji and Tonga.
Markle is reportedly pressing on with the trip after taking medical advice and deciding she it was safe to proceed with the trip.
Pregnant women are given special advice to avoid Zika areas because it can affect the development of unborn children.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says pregnant women should avoid travelling to areas with a “moderate” risk of catching the Zika virus, a category which includes Tonga and Fiji.
A potential consequence of catching Zika while pregnant is the birth defect microcephaly – when babies are born with abnormally small heads and abnormal brain developments.
Under NHS guidelines pregnant women should “consider postponing non-essential travel to areas until after pregnancy.”
A senior royal source told The Daily Mirror: “The Duke and Duchess sought medical advice about the risk of the Zika virus on the islands of Fiji and Tonga and there will be no change to the planned schedule.”
On Monday Kensington Palace announced that the royal couple are expecting a child in the Spring of 2019.
The couple were in Australia at the time of the announcement, and will begin their first royal tour together, since they married in May, on Tuesday.
The tour will visit Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji from October 16 to 31.
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