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Childbirth at Kaiser SF

The Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > Kaiser Doctors > Childbirth at Kaiser SF



Aug 2012

Hello BPN, Anyone out there give birth at Kaiser in San Francisco care to share their experience with me? I just found out that at this SF Kaiser campus, they are a teaching Labor/Delivery campus so there are many residents who are working there. Plus, chances are my regular OBGYN, whom I love, will not be present at the birth. I pretty much show up and you get who you get plus the residents. I'm all for medical education, but not during my first birth. I also found out they don't have a midwife program. But if I want to drive south for 35 minutes I can use the Redwood City midwife program and give birth there. (35 minutes in rush hour could be 60 min. or more.) My Ob Gyn tried to reassure me about the SF residents by saying: ''Well your due date is late December, the residents start the program in June, so by December they are well seasoned''. Have to say, that comment didn't instill the confidence I was looking for. Kaiser SF is the hospital that all other Bay Area Kaiser facilities send their most challenging patients to so they have no time for midwife program, according to my ObGyn. I'm sure they do a great job at these tough cases, but I just want a natural labor. Any thoughts appreciated. Jillian


I have had 2 kids at SF Kaiser in the past 3 years. For the first child I got there 1 hour before she was born, so I wasn't really paying attention to who was around me. The second time I had to be induced because of high blood pressure. My labor progressed rapidly, but I ended up having an emergency c- section when my son's heart beat stopped recovering after contractions. I both situations both the doctors and nurses were excellent. I actually had the same OB that delivered my daughter deliver my son almost 2 years later. In all honesty, you barely see the OBs, most of your contact at any hospital is with the nursing staff. All the nurses at Kaiser SF were very kind, helpful and knowledgable. No one pushed me to do anything I didn't want to do and quite frankly, I think most hospitals in the Bay Area are aware of most mother's-to-be desires to have natural births and will not ask you if you want pain medicine if you are upfront that you don't want. the most important thing, as with any medical procedure, is to have an advocate for you, a partner who can be aware of what is happening and make sure your wishes are followed. You are welcome to contact me if you have any other questions. On a side note, Kaiser SF has a wonderful mother & baby program that isn't well advertised. They meet every Tuesday on the mezzanine level of the hospital, I think at 10 or 10:30. It is led in rotation by a lactation consultant and a LCSW and is a great opportunity to talk to other new mothers and have baby play. Tracy
Hi Jillian, I understand how you feel when you are going to give birth to your first child even though our condition may not be exact the same. Let me just tell you my experience at SF Kaiser while giving birth to my first and only baby. First, I originally went to a different Kaiser in the bay area and was given a mid-wife. I had pre-existing condition that required me to take medication daily, and I was considered having a high risk pregnancy due to my advanced age. After 3 pre-natal visits I decided to switch to an MD at SF Kaiser per my friend's suggestion -- my medication was not re-adjusted, and my posiitive urine test was not re-tested until I saw the new doctor. I was given clear instruction what to do & what to expect prior to my delivery. On the ''D'' day, I had an unexpectedly fast delivery - almost too fast for all staff to handle. Even though I was in so much pain & almost couldn't tell what was going on, I could feel a sense of urgency & efficiency there. There was a whole army of doctors, residents, technicians, nurses all doing their job trying to help me getting through this rough time. At one point one nurse was massaging my feet, another nurse held my feet up while pushing. They respected my choice when at one point I suggested to squat rather than sit while pushing. Yes, there were residents but the main doctor was there too monitoring any unexpected changes. My husband told me the 2 or 3? residents were silent and did not agree on how to proceed and one left the room. Later came with the main doctor. I was instructed not to push and took a break for an hour. My baby's heart rate was dropping too low. I was also given a mask for oxygen. The main doctor was even chit chatting with me as if nothing bad happened -- this was great as at the time as I really didn't need any extra stress. Long story short, I was glad to deliver at SF Kaiser. The care and treatment was exceptional, and I knew if anything went wrong, an experienced doctor was there to straighten things out. I had a natural birth with a healthy baby girl -- all after 13 years of marriage! If I am lucky enough to be pregnant again, I'll choice SF Kaiser in no time! Hope you find peace in your decision and get to enjoy your baby very soon! happy mama at SF Kaiser
I have not had any experience with Kaiser SF, but I wanted to try to ease your mind on the point related to the residents that will be working when you go in to give birth. Kaiser Oakland is also a teaching hospital and they too get the tougher cases. Here is why this fact made me feel better about giving birth there. One, the residents are there every day dealing with moms giving birth. This is what they do! They are young, energetic and knowledgeable. Kaiser is very keen on going with fewer interventions and they have a lower rate of C-Sections than other hospitals, so as long as you have your birth plan written up and you make all who attend you aware of your birth plan, they will do everything in their power to help make your birth experience what you want. The second benefit with a teaching hospital is that they know how to deal with ALL situations. They have seen them all and they have the resources on hand just in case. Finally, my personal experience was that the nurses who attended me were far more important than the doctors since they are in the room a lot more! And my nurses were great. I know Kaiser Oakland does allow Doulas in the room, so if you don't want to risk the drive south, look into that as an option. My friends did this and they really loved having that extra person there to look out for their interests. Getting ready for your first birth is nerve wracking. Trust your gut and do what makes you feel most comfortable. Happy Kaiser Birth
Sept 2008

Re: I live in Richmond - which Kaiser for delivery?
Have you thought about Kaiser SF? I know it means going over the bridge, but it is about the same distance from WC from where you are and I LOVE my doctors there. I've had a surgery there already and will be delivering my son there in November. SF does not have midwives but is super-progressive and has a low c-section rate and is doula-friendly. Kaiser Oakland is my emergency hospital and we did the tour there and thought ''wow, I hope there's not an emergency.'' They are very nice and clearly competent, but the rooms are dark and TINY and it just isn't as modern as either WC or SF. The problem I've heard with WC is that EVERYONE wants to deliver there so you can get diverted to Oakland pretty easily. SF doesn't divert very often, so says my OB. Also, while Kaiser Oakland has a Level 3 NICU, the level 4 is in San Francisco at UCSF, so close to that hospital. Also - MOST of the postpartum rooms in Oakland are shared. They do try to keep you in a private setting but it's not guaranteed like at SF. Hope this helps! Lara


April 2006

Re: Childbirth at Kaiser - where to deliver?

I gave birth June 2005 at San Francisco Kaiser and am planning to go back there with our next in the future. I originally was going to go to Walnut Creek so I could have a midwife but because of pre-term labor (and receiving care in San Rafael) they sent me to SF because it was closer. The staff is caring and supportive. I actually got to go home and carry my son an additional month (very lucky) and decided to go back there for the birth. Again, my experience was similar and the staff in labor and postpartum were wonderful, answered all my constant questions (first baby) and found a nice bed for my husband to sleep on too. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to talk to you. kim


April 1998

I had a very positive prenatal, birth, and post-delivery experience at Kaiser San Francisco. I was/am very satisfied with my OB/GYN, Kim Kroener, who is a nurse practitioner. She's very knowledgeable, accessible, and caring. Kaiser-SF, and probably all the other Kaisers too, offer a series of prenatal courses and I took just about everyone of them, including classes on labor and delivery, breastfeeding, new baby care, and, of course, the Lamaze class. All except the Lamaze class are free to Kaiser members.

My labor/birth experience was very positive too. At the time, Kaiser was conducting a doula study and I was lucky enough to be assigned a doula, who was extremely helpful during transition. And the nurses were absolutely WONDERFUL. The labor and delivery room was large, had a shower (a HUGE plus), and comfortable. The one downside to Kaiser is that your OB, even if you have a MD, is NOT likely to be the one to deliver your baby -- it's whoever is on call/duty at the time, and in SF's case this person is usually a resident. That's not something that bothered me, but I could see how it would bother others.

My post-delivery experience was less positive -- I shared a room with a mother whose baby cried all the time, and then there's the constant sleep interruption -- someone checking your temperature or checking your baby (who stays with you the whole time) -- and so I felt I got very little rest while I was there and was chomping at the bit to go home after 24 hours. Kaiser does send a nurse to your home about 2 days after the birth to check you and your baby -- and the nurse who saw us was also quite wonderful.

The deal with delivering at Alta Bates is, I believe, only for Kaiser-Oakland patients, but you should check on this. Elizabeth


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