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The best care for mom and baby

“You’d never know my kids were preemies,” says Shannan Herckner.

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When Shannan Herckner got pregnant for the first time, she delivered at Virtua because it was close to home. The second time around, she chose Virtua because of its outstanding care.

“During pregnancy number one, everything went along fine until my water broke six weeks early,” says Shannan. She gave birth to a premature baby girl named Kendell.

The infant experienced problems with feeding, sucking and breathing – common for preemies – so Kendell was cared for in Virtua Voorhees’ neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by highly skilled clinicians until she was strong enough to go home.

Advanced care for newborns
“Premature newborns are very fragile and often need intensive care,” says Elizabeth Fong-DeLeon, MD, Virtua neonatologist and chief of neonatology at Virtua. “For these babies, Virtua Voorhees provides a state-of-the-art Level III NICU – one of only three regional perinatal centers in South Jersey.”

High-risk care for moms
“When women have one premature baby, they are 20 percent more likely to have a second,” says Virtua obstetrician-gynecologist Emily Ricci, MD.

During her second pregnancy, Shannan began bleeding at 17 weeks, so it was recommended that she see a Virtua maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist.

OB and MFM specialists team up for care
“Obstetricians like me work closely with Virtua’s MFM specialists to develop a care plan,” says Dr. Ricci.

For Shannan, the plan was to stay on modified bed rest, which she continued, until her son, Breck, was born at 30 weeks old. He also needed time in the Voorhees NICU, along with additional care once he left the hospital.

Because Breck was born with low muscle tone, he received physical therapy. Breck’s care is a perfect example of how “Virtua’s services for children start at the very
beginning of life to give every child the healthiest possible future,”says Virtua pediatrician Jeffrey Blackman, MD.

For more information on Virtua’s maternity services, visit or call toll-free 1-855-VIRTUA-8 (1-855-847-8828).