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Kaiser ObGyn Reviews by Area See Also: Questions

Having twins - See Specialist?

May 2004

I'm 17 weeks into my twin pregnancy, which is so far normal. I have a Kaiser OB I like, but am wondering whether I should switch to a neonatologist or twin specialist for the remainder of my pregnancy. Any suggestions from others (especially if you had Kaiser.) Thanks! Sarah


I had twins via Kaiser and was automatically assigned to the team of specialists, probably because I was older (45) and had already been through infertility treatments. The main advantage to me was a lot of ultrasounds, which I found very reassuring. You might ask your current OB wbout frequency of visits, and what the difference might be. Ultimately, neither of the specialists were on call the day of my delivery, and another OB (Dr. Breneman)delivered my babies, and she was great. Debbie
I saw Dr. David Walton, neonatologist at Kaiser Oakland, for my twin pregnancy last fall. I was happy that I saw a specialist, even though my pregnancy was relatively problem-free, just because of the higher risks of a twin pregnancy. I liked Dr. Walton -- he was low-key and not alarmist, but he jumped right on a problem when he saw it. Beth
You should already be seeing a high risk ob. I am a Kaiser oakland patient also, and when it was discovered that I was carrying twins, I was immediately switched from my regular ob to a high risk ob. (Neonatologists are specialists who will care for your babies AFTER they are born) I was able to schedule my appointments with either of the two high risk obs-- they recommended I see both so I wouldn't have a stranger delivering my twins if my regular ob wasn't able to come when I went into labor. (ie he could be busy with another delivery, or be on vacation) I ended up choosing Dr Dave Walton, but I liked the other doctor very well also. Dr. Walton was very professional, knowledgeable, reassuring, and has done lots of twin deliveries. I recommend him highly. He even came in on his day off to deliver my twins when I went into labor 6 weeks early. (My girls are 4 now, and beautiful) Some unsolicited advice--get LOTS of rest--I didn't take Dr. Walton seriously when he told me to stay in bed for at least 3 hours a day--I was lifting bags of dogfood at costco the day I went into labor... twin mama

Breastfeeding Friendly Kaiser ObGyn

July 2003

Hello, Can anyone please recommend a good Kaiser OBGYN MD who is breastfeeding-friendly? Prefer one in the east bay such as Oakland or Richmond, but San Francisco is also o.k. Need it to be an MD, not a nurse practitioner. Thank you. Chiara

Recommended:

  • Sarah Mandel SF
  • Laura Minikel Oakland
  • Richmond Kaiser

    Kaiser gynecologists for PCOS

    July 2002

    Hi, I just switched to Kaiser and I'm looking for recommendations regarding Kaiser gynecologists experienced with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-- either Oakland or Walnut Creek is fine. I checked the archives and didn't find anything specific to PCOS. Thanks! L. M.


    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was a Kaiser member by a fantastic doctor. Dr. Sara Mandel is at the SF Kaiser on Geary, and if you can go see her there, I highly, highly recommend her. She was very sympathetic, had great ''bedside manner'', and acted very efficiently to make the process of diagnosis and possible treatments very easy and inexpensive for me. Good luck to you. julie
    I highly recommend Dr. Feigenbaum at Kaiser S.F. for working with PCOS. I have PCOS and I saw Dr. Feigenbaum and his excellent staff for a few years until I did finally get pregnant. He is very honest and straight forward and funny. He spent a lot of time explaining things to me and felt positive that I would succeed in having a child and then saw to it that I did. Danielle

    General Remarks about Prenatal Care at Kaiser

    2001

    I and consequently my child have kaiser. I had a wonderful experience with kasier oakland (which by the way uses alta bates medical center for deliveries). I had a high risk pregnancy and saw one of the two hi risk md's. I forgot their names, but one is definitely better than the other (if you are hi risk, contacat me and I will search for his name) The pre-natal and post birth experiences have been very good. We use richmond pediatrics which is known to have the best pediatric physicians. and so far (my daughter is almost 4) they have been great. good luck betty


    I just went through my first pregnancy at Oakland Kaiser, and was quite pleased with the experience. First of all, Oakland Kaiser OB patients deliver at Alta Bates. I loved my birth experience there, and felt very cared for with a moderately high-risk delivery (pre-eclampsia, and needed internal monitors and vacuum delivery). They were also very supportive and helpful when I went to the emergency room 3 weeks postpartum with excessive bleeding.

    My experience in general with Oakland Kaiser is that the care is great, but be prepared to be your own advocate. I miscarried a baby at 8 weeks before this one, and was "dropped through the cracks" in the system. They forgot to call me with my d&c appointment, made me wait well over a week for another, etc etc etc. It was a hellish experience and, had I any choice, I would have dropped Kaiser right there. However, they were great with this baby and I have no qualms about using them with my next pregnancy. The key is to get a nurse practitioner that you love, and stick with her. (you will see an NP for most appointments unless you are high risk). I think that my problems the first time around were because I was new to Kaiser and didn't have a doctor of my own yet. I can highly recommend Marsha Balian, Lenore Arnoux, Carolyn Monahan, and Elaine Stavely. They kept me informed about what was going on with me and the baby, even when there were potential problems, talked to me like an intelligent person, etc.

    The downside to Kaiser, as opposed to a private practice, is that the doctor on call is the one who delivers your baby, and you will very likely not meet him or her beforehand. I did not find this to be a problem at all, by then I was beyond caring as long as the baby got OUT, but some people probably would mind. Good luck with your conception journey! Catherine


    1999

    I'm pregnant, and was wondering if any one has any recent experience with pre-natal care/birthing at Kaiser? I'm sorta worried because I've heard quite a few negative comments about their care in general.

    Someone told me that their Redwood City facility has a midwifery department, that you can be attended by midwifes, rather than some random OB who happens to be on duty that night. That sounds good, but rather a long drive from the East Bay. Does anyone know if any of the EB facilities have a similar setup? Finally, I'd also appreciate any recommendations for a pre-natal yoga class, massage therapist, and a good swimming pool. TIA for allowing me to pick your brains,


    Both my children were born while under Kaiser benefits. The first birth and pregancy care went well, although I think that I was just 'steered around' and they did what was easiest for me, not necessarily the best. For example, during the birth, when my water broke, they put me on pitocin right away without giving me time to go for a walk and get the contractions going myself. This lead to being on my back almost the whole time, which was not my vision of the perfect birth, but I still managed ok... except for the fourth degree tear bit. :(

    During my second pregancy and birth, however, I was MUCH more proactive. Know how the receptionist almost tries to book you with a new person for every visit? Well, I did my darnest to avoid that by finding a nurse practioner I liked, and then followed her schedule, no matter how wacky it got. Sure, this sometimes was an inconvience for me, but I really wanted the continuation of care. I got certain perks: although the OB/GYN dr would not give me her voice mail phone number, my NP did. It was not easy to find her, but well worth the effort, especially when another NP actually made me CRY from the things she said when my favorite NP was on vacation.

    As for the second birth experience, the single most important thing I did was hire a doula. I paid $200 for her, but she was well worth every penny. I developed a professional birthing relationship with a person that would be with me in the delivery room. And, although she could not necessarily give me any medical advice per se, she certainly shared with me her experiences. She walked with me in my own neighborhood after my water broke, and also totally agreed I was in full fledged labor before we got to the hospital (avoiding the other birth scenario, where everyone wanted to 'kick start' my labor by putting me on pitocin. In fact, I skipped the really-too-busy triage at Alta Bates, and went right to a delivery room, they were so convinced!). She was my advocate to the dr and nurses when I was not willing to answer questions, and also not willing to let my husband concentrate on anything but ME. She also helped me get through transition by encouraging me to roar like a beast...it was so funny *I* even laughed, but I got through with a drug-free, empowering, non-intervention birth. And it was just the type of thinking and suggestion I needed!

    In a way this is Kaiser: Be totally proactive, or they will take the easy road. Sure, if things are dangerous and life threatening, they are really there for you, but the 'regular' cases often get put by the side. At any rate, that has been my experience. Hope this helps you!


    I've had all three of my children at Kaiser. They are 8, 6 and 2.5 years old so my info might not be very current. But by the third child I'd figured out how to deal with the Kaiser system. I would strongly recommend a doula -- she would be with you the whole time and be your advocate. ( I had Patty Lipinka 849-1082) . She was very helpful in figuring out a birthplan and dealing with the nurses and doctors at Kaiser Oakland. She made it possible for me to concentrate on giving birth and to stay relaxed in a hospital room. Also having Patty there helped my husband to be there for me. Kaiser also offers some birthing classes that can be helpful especially for the first time you have a baby.
    I've been with Kaiser Oakland for the births of both my children. I think that they have an incredibly stupid system: you see a nurse-practitioner for all your prenatal care, and then when it comes time for labor and delivery, you're under the care of the nurses in the hospital and some random doctor (a resident unless something goes wrong) that you've likely never seen before, and have no relationship with at all.

    On the other hand, I've been mostly impressed with the individuals who cared for me (nurse-practioners, nurses, and doctors)--I've felt that they've all been professional, good at what they do, as well as kind. I did end up with a C-section in both cases (for different reasons), which I'm not positive would have been the case had I been with a midwife (though there's no way of telling for sure.)

    I've known a number of women who switched to Kaiser in Walnut Creek when they became pregnant, because they have a better system--one where you see a nurse-midwife who is present at your birth. (I'm pretty sure this is the case.) On the other hand, at least one of these women had a pretty awful experience in the hospital in WC immediately after her C-section (she didn't have a partner with her, and the nursing staff basically ignored her--pretty depressing.)

    I've also known one woman who had all her prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland and then (on her own, kind of "behind Kaiser's back") had her baby at home with a midwife.

    Summary: For financial and logistical reasons, Kaiser Oakland was an ok choice for us. I can't say the whole experience was "magical" or "blissful" or anything like that (and I'm sometimes sad about that), but the bottom line is that I gave birth to two very healthy children, and that's what's most important to me!


    1998

    We're hiring a doula to be with us at Alta Bates, through the changing shifts and overworked nursing staff. We've heard good things about the Kaiser/Alta Bates setup, but I share your discontent about not being able to see a nurse/midwife through prenatal care and delivery. It's so disconnected. As is, it seems, the advice nurse line. I average a 20 minute wait each time I call, which is unacceptable. Open enrollment time, we'll be looking closely at other options.

    Meanwhile, I suggest 2 things: WRITE a letter to the head physician at Kaiser, detailing your discontent. The only way things are going to change there is if people complain and threaten to leave. I think there should be a patient advocacy committee or group, since as members we should have a say in the decisions affecting our coverage and care. I'm suggesting it in my own letter to them.

    Second, the doula we've hired is actually a midwife, in SF, but she has East Bay clients too, and is available as a doula as well. She's wonderful. Her name is Jen Bauman, and she can be reached at 415/431-5006. Mary


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