First Trimester: TORCH Panel
The TORCH panel is used to screen for certain infectious diseases that can cause birth defects in a baby if the mother contracts them during the pregnancy. The blood tests that make up the panel are for:
- Other infections (syphilis, hepatitis B, coxsackie virus, Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, and human parvovirus)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
Some of these are ordered individually, either before or in early pregnancy; the complete TORCH panel is less commonly ordered since more specific and sensitive tests to detect these infections are available.