What is Torch Screen?
A TORCH screen is a blood test given during pregnancy to check for certain infections. The test is so named because it checks for four infections: Toxoplasmosis, Other infections, Rubella (German measles) and Cytomegalovirus. The test is usually done between the 15th and 23rd weeks of pregnancy.
Preparation for the TORCH Screen
A TORCH screen typically takes about 15 minutes. No special preparation is needed beforehand; it just involves a simple blood draw.
Procedure for the TORCH Screen
The procedure for a TORCH screen involves a blood sample being taken from the pregnant woman's arm. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and the results are usually available within a few days.
Types of Infections Detected by the TORCH Screen
- Toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection that can cause birth defects and miscarriage.
- Other infections – including herpes, syphilis, varicella (chickenpox), Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B, and HIV.
- Rubella – a viral infection that can cause hearing problems, eye defects, and birth defects.
- Cytomegalovirus – a viral infection that can cause hearing and vision problems as well as mental and physical disabilities.
Risks of the TORCH Screen
A TORCH screen is a safe and simple test with minimal risk. The only risk associated with this test is slight discomfort from the blood draw.
Why is a TORCH Screen Done?
A TORCH screen is done to detect the presence of any of the four infections listed above in a pregnant woman’s body. These infections can potentially cause health problems for the unborn baby, so this test is an important tool for monitoring the baby’s health.
When is a TORCH Screen Done?
The TORCH screen is usually done between the 15th and 23rd weeks of pregnancy. This is a time when the baby’s organs are formed and the risk of infection is higher. If an infection is detected, the pregnant woman can receive treatment to help reduce the risk of complications.