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Special Care NICU Team Helps Twins Thrive

By |2024-03-18T09:13:00-04:00January 19th, 2024|Categories: Pregnancy and Parenting|Tags: , |

Gianna Lauria was surprised to learn she was pregnant with twin girls since multiple births don’t run in her family. Then, just 32 weeks into her pregnancy, the 24-year-old Howell resident was amazed to learn she was in early labor.

“I was putting my toddler to bed and noticed my stomach was extremely tight,” explains Gianna, who was diagnosed with gestational diabetes toward the end of her pregnancy.

“I didn’t think it was a contraction because I wasn’t in pain, but I called my doctor just to be safe. When we arrived at the hospital at 10:30 p.m., I learned I was 7 centimeters dilated, and still I had no pain!”

Upon examining Gianna, CentraState OB/GYN Casandra Autry, MD, found that baby Juliana was head-first in the birth canal, but baby Liliana was breech. She and OB/GYN Michael Kirwin, MD, discussed the situation and explained the options to Gianna. With this insight, she decided that a C-section was the best option for delivering her fraternal twins safely. Juliana came into the world at 12:40 a.m., weighing 4 pounds, 2.9 ounces, followed by Liliana at 12:41 a.m., weighing 3 pounds, 7.6 ounces.

Specialized Intensive Care

A full-term pregnancy for a single baby is 40 weeks, while delivery should be considered for twins at 37 weeks to minimize complications. Both babies stayed in CentraState’s Special Care Nursery, a Level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), for several weeks while they grew stronger. The nursery’s highly skilled team of board-certified neonatologists and certified nurses provides 24/7 care for newborns who have complications associated with prematurity and low birth weight, such as infections, breathing problems and low temperature or blood sugar.

“Since the Special Care Nursery is a smaller unit, it provides a safe, comfortable, intimate environment for babies,” says neonatologist Mary Beth Browne, MD, who cared for the twins along with a team of clinicians. “Parents benefit from a lot of hands-on education with our amazing nurses, and babies not only get the specialized medical attention they need but also plenty of TLC.”

Both babies were treated for breathing issues, jaundice and feeding difficulties. Treatment included oxygen, phototherapy and short courses of antibiotics to prevent infection. Juliana’s medical issues were mild, and she was able to go home about a month later. Liliana required treatment with surfactant, a special liquid medication used to treat respiratory distress. She spent an additional week in the NICU before going home.

“Everyone worked together to care for these fragile babies,” explains Dr. Kirwin, the father of 17-year old twins who were also delivered at CentraState. “Our nurses provide high-level care so premature infants can be delivered and cared for locally.”

While the Lauria twins are doing well, up to a third of children born prematurely may have developmental delays later in life that can impact their performance in school.

“When babies are born prematurely, they have a higher risk of developing neurodevelopmental or neuropsychological issues,” Dr. Browne explains. “Parents should discuss any issues they notice with their child’s pediatrician because early intervention is important. A developmental pediatrician can perform an in-depth neurologic and developmental evaluation and refer children as early as possible for occupational and physical therapy.”

“The Special Care doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing,” Gianna says. “The staff has experience at higher-level NICUs, so we never had to worry about the twins while at home with our toddler. It was bittersweet when Liliana graduated from the NICU because we had to say goodbye to the staff.”

Keeping Maternal Blood Sugar in Check

Gianna Lauria was diagnosed with pregnancy-related diabetes a week before she welcomed twin girls. Also known as gestational diabetes, the condition can increase the risk of infection, birth defects and premature birth.

Mary Beth Browne, MD, recommends controlling your blood sugar, especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. Here’s how:
✔ Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and carbohydrates
✔ Stay active, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise most days
✔ Try to start pregnancy at a healthy weight
✔ If needed, monitor your blood sugar and take insulin or other medications as prescribed


To learn more about the Maternity Services at CentraState, check out the page here. You can also take a virtual tour of the maternity center here.

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