Perinatologists & Prenatal Tests at Kaiser
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Perinatologists & Prenatal Tests at Kaiser
Hi. We are having twins and I need to decide between the
perinatologists at Kaiser in Oakland and Walnut Creek. I'd
like to hear people's recent experiences with Dr. Lawrence
Newman, Dr. David Walton, and Dr. Mara Beth Greenberg at
Oakland and Dr. Jeffrey Maier and Dr. Monica Sood at Walnut
Creek. I believe Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Sood are relatively
This is my first pregnancy and my limited experiences with
Dr. Newman so far have been less than reassuring. Ideally,
I am looking for someone who is very competent, doesn't mind
a patient who asks a lot of questions and does a lot of
research, and isn't adverse to natural childbirth (I am
being realistic and understand that it may not be an option,
but I'd at least like a provider who isn't totally adverse
- Looking for a supportive provider
Ask for Dr. Newman's resident, Lisa Ryujin. I'm assigned to Dr.
Walton, who is very, very good but also often unavailable, so I've
seen both Drs. Newman and Ruyjin in his place. Personally, I
don't mind Dr. Newman at all--while he is businesslike and
straightforward, he clearly knows his stuff. However, Dr. Ryujin
(whom I have seen multiple times) is very knowlegeable, but also
highly compassionate, and I have NEVER felt rushed at all with
her. Although I'm having a scheduled c-section due to my medical
condition, I get the impression that Dr. Ryujin would be very open
to natural birth as long as it doesn't pose a risk to the baby or
you. Here's a link to her profile:
...and best wishes for your delivery!!
also high-risk, very happy with Kaiser Oakland docs
I have had a lot of experience with both Dr. Walton and Dr. Newman
at Kaiser Oakland. My first pregnancy got complicated very fast
and I was in the hospital, under both Dr. Walton and Dr. Newman's
care. I found Dr. Newman to have a great bedside manner, and he
was a believer in taking more precautionary measures that made me
feel comfortable. Dr. Walton is very, very smart, but until I got
to know him I didn't know what to make of his personality. He
comes across as a little awkward. However, over time he really
grew on me and I wound up trusting his judgment completely. All
of the nurses in the hospital love him too -- and I think it's
telling of how kind he is that he treats everyone he works with
with respect too. He's read every relevant article and researched
everything to help prevent pre-term birth. In my second
pregnancy, I was automatically considered high risk, and the
moment I got pregnant I emailed Dr. Walton and he saw me and did
an ultrasound right away. Even though nothing in that pregnancy
was abnormal in the least, and I ultimately delivered full term,
he took every precaution, did ultrasounds every couple of weeks,
and addressed all of my concerns immediately. He was not hesitant
about ordering tests that I suggested if they made sense, which I
really appreciated. He also always managed to bend the rules for
me and see me at odd times (like during his lunch). He made me
feel like a VIP, which is hard to do in the Kaiser system, and
gave me the reassurance I needed to feel less stressed about the
2nd pregnancy. So my recommendation would be to go with Dr.
Walton at Kaiser Oakland. You can't get a more skilled and caring
physician than him, even if it takes a while to warm up to him.
Have you had CVS at Kaiser Oakland in the last few years? What was your
experience and who was your doctor? Can you offer a recommendation for a
specific doctor at that facility? Looking for the most
experienced/succesful with CVS, of course.
I had an amnio at Kaiser Oakland in 2006 and it went well, but felt I was
choosing the doctor almost blindly. And I'm a little more scared of CVS.
thanks for the input,
From what I was led to believe this past August, they do not offer CVS
testing at the Oakland facility. You need to go to San Francisco or
Santa Clara. I ended up at Santa Clara because I wanted to test as early
as I could and all appointments in SF were booked until it was the very
end of the testing window. I was freaked... knowing nothing about the
Santa Clara facility and its doctors. My experience was fabulous. The
ultrasound nurse was so welcoming and informative; she put me right at
ease. Dr. Dyson is who I believe does the procedure. He was so
professional and personable. A true expert. I had no complications from
the procedure and received my results 2 weeks and one day after the test
was performed. All clear. If you want to talk about it at all, feel
free to email me. I am happy to try to put your fears and anxieties to
another old mom
I actually had my CVS at Kaiser SF not Oakland, but wanted to respond as
I believe that as a Kaiser member you can indeed go to a different
Kaiser. I had a VERY good experience at Kaiser SF. Dr. Robin Field
preformed the procedure - he was very pleasant, upbeat & reassuring. The
procedure was observed by Dr. Mary Norton who was previously at UCSF and
very highly recommended to me as a CVS doctor. I believe she now works at
Kaiser SF and also does the CVS procedure there. Anyway, I felt very good
about my experience at Kaiser SF - the genetics people were very helpful
also. Good luck w/your CVS & your pregnancy!!!!
I had CVS done at Kaiser about 9 1/2 years ago because I needed results
earlier than amnio would give me. I drove to Santa Teresa Kaiser (San
Jose). Although I do not remember the name of the doctor, I remember that
he was middle aged, white and taught the procedure at Stanford.
I will say that he had to go in several times to get enough tissue
without getting too much. I did have discomfort, but no pain and if I
were lucky enough to find myself pregnant again, I would choose CVS again
in a heartbeat.
I did not drive myself. I remember being a little dizzy afterward.
I have heard that the person doing CVS at Oakland now is Dr. Mary Norton.
I have not had one by her, but the BPN reviews of her are quite good. She
was at UCSF before coming to Kaiser, and it sounds like she has a lot of
experience. Hope this helps.
As of 3 years ago, when I had my CVS, they sent us to the Santa Clara
facility as Kaiser Oakland wasn't doing it and San Francisco didn't have
openings for my window of opportunity. The OB who performed our CVS was
not only an Attending, he was the head of Obstetrics for all Kaiser
Northern California and had multiple academic papers out on the use of
CVS. I'm sorry I don't remember his name, but with that information you
probably could find out who he was. He wasn't exactly a
cry-on-my-shoulder kind of doctor; he reminded me more of a surgeon with
that radiating absolute competence. Since I find that reassuring in that
kind of situation, it was a GOOD thing.
With CVS, you Definitely need to know this information as they track
complication rates not only by facility but by doctor. Make sure the doc
is NOT a resident. Talk with your primary OB again about who they would
have do a CVS on themselves.
When I did CVS through Oakland Kaiser genetics earlier this year, you had
to go elsewhere for the test, though they were talking about starting CVS
in Oakland soon.
Your genetics counselor (I absolutely loved working with Rushina Patel,
but everyone I encountered in Kaiser genetics was fabulous) can tell you
more, including MDs' CVS ''numbers,'' which might help with your choice.
With only a few KP MDs in the Bay Area doing CVS, you don't always have a
lot of choice but you know they are experienced.
Dr. Mary Norton is a hotshot from UCSF, relatively recently arrived at
KP, with excellent CVS numbers and reputation. I believe she may be
coming to Oakland or you can go to SF. There is info on her elsewhere on
I went to Santa Clara and saw Dr. Dyson, head of perinatology I believe,
and felt very confident. Plus it's a beautiful new facility, very calm
with excellent staff.
At least in June, Robin Field in SF was the third KP CVS MD.
--very happy with Kaiser genetics testing
I just had a CVS at Kaiser Oakland and it went really well
with Dr. Norton. There was quite a bit of supportive
clinical staff in the room. I had no medical side effects
other than a little cramping later that evening. I was back
into full swing the next day. I also had the procedure at
Stanford 2 years ago and all went well. I'm was VERY
particular about who did it both times. It was less painful
with Dr. Norton (maybe I got lucky)than my experience at
Stanford. I was quite impressed with Kaiser (and I'm picky).
After reading all the glowing reviews for Dr. Mary Norton for CVS
prenatal diagnostic testing, I contacted UCSF to schedule an
appointment with her. Unfortunately, in the middle of 2007 Dr.
Norton moved to Kaiser Permanente in SF, and can *only* attend to
Kaiser member patients. The number there is 415-833-2200.
I have my first CVS appointment on Tuesday, March 20th with Dr.
Robin Fields of Kaiser in SF. I haven't found much online about
Dr. Fields, so would love to know what your experience has been
if you have had him for CVS. Any insight would be appreciated!
I had a CVS with Dr. Fields in late 2004. Nothing about the
procedure stood out and I remember him being pretty outgoing and
explaining what was going on. (I went by myself without my
husband). He does a lot of these (according to my Kaiser OB, a
the time he was the ''one'' that does CVS in the Bay Area) and it
shows. The worst part frankly was waiting for the procedure in
the waiting room with a full bladder as they were way behind on
the appointments (when I finally got in the room they let me
empty a bit). My advice would be to schedule it in the morning,
Healthy Child after CVS
I had a CVS performed by Robin Fields of Kaiser-SF in late
December. This is my second pregnancy, and for the 1st I didn't
have any invasive testing, so I was incredibly nervous and did a
lot of research. I felt much better knowing that Fields has been
doing CVS procedures for 15 years, and does them only once a
week, but he had several others that same day. Plus he is known
(according to my genetic counselor at Kaiser) to be more
conservative (in terms of not going in for a second attempt if
they didn't get enough sample) than the San Jose Kaiser doc. I
found his manner calm and reassuring, and I am very happy that I
had the procedure done rather than waiting for an amnio. It was
hard deciding since it seemed like everything I read favored
amnios, but finding out early, for me had several advantages. I
found it stressful driving into the city by myself, and having to
have a full bladder, but I was very pleased with Fields and the
Kaiser SF staff there. Good luck!
I went to Mary Norton last year for my CVS. She was wonderful -
extremely competent, and she also had a wonderful bedside manner.
I was nervous before the procedure, and she was very soothing and
kind. Actually, I have to say that out of all the drs I saw
during my pregnancy, including my regular OB, she was by far my
favorite. I really cannot recommend her highly enough. She is
definitely worth asking for a referral!
hi. i'm 40 and pregnant. my ob is recommending Dr. Mary Norton
at USF for a CVS. i'd be grateful to hear about any experiences
anyone has with her. i've had an amnio before but am very
nervous about having CVS. also, what are the most current
statistics on miscarriage rates from CVS? thanks so much
Mary Norton (at UCSF, not USF) is the BEST, and I work in the
field. She is the most experienced and knowledgeable clinician
for this procedure in the Bay Area. I had a CVS with her about 6
months ago and all my friends/colleagues who are OBs go to her.
Her miscarriage rate is less than 1 in 400
I had a CVS with Mary Norton in June 2004. She was a clear
first choice from my OB GYN and I followed that advice. Mary
was absolutely excellent and extremely professional. The
office was great - highly organized, good bedside manner,
professinal and knowledgeable. I would go back to her (and only
her) in a heartbeat.
Check her rates, but my understanding was that UCSF's rates of
miscarriage post CVS are exactly equal to the miscarriage rate
vs. amnio (you generally see a higher rate). That is probably
due to Mary's vast experience
I've had cvs twice with Dr. Goldberg at cpmc. No complications
other than bad news. Good friend has had cvs twice with Dr.
Norton & also had no complications. Having had both cvs &
amnio, I prefer cvs. (I was crampy for a week after amnio but
sore for a few days after trans-abdominal cvs. Trans-cervical is
like a pap smear but with a full bladder. Full bladder part is
the worst of it.) Getting bad news at 12 or 13 weeks is very
different than getting it at 17 or 18 weeks (been there).
Miscarriage rates are debated for CVS as a percentage of
pregnancies at 10/11 weeks would miscarry on their own. For
faster results you can request FISH analysis - takes about 2
Dr. Norton is probably the best physician in the Bay area to do
your CVS. She is the director of UCSF's Prenatal Diagnostic
Center and I believe she is board certified in both
obstetrics/gynecology as well as radiology. The miscarriage rate
associated with CVS is generally quoted as around 2%, but is far
less than 1% at UCSF. I would also highly recommend Sarah, her
genetic counselor, if you're given the option.
I'm a physician myself and kept my UCSF health coverage
specifically so that I could have Dr. Norton perform CVS for me
during 2 different pregnancies.
Best of luck.
I had my CVS done with dr. norton last year after a
miscarrarriage. I was forty-one and scared that something would
go wrong. In addition I was plagued with morning sickness
during that time. Dr. Norton heard my concerns with the
procedure and was very reassuring. So was the staff - even
after I threw up on the exam table right before the procedure.
Dr. Norton was quick - the acutal procedure took about a minute
or two tops. The drinking the water and waiting took longer. I
did have some discomfort afterwards and stayed off my feet for a
day or two. When I got the call that everything was ok I was
very relieved. I have a beautiful nine month old today.
I only know Goldberg by reputation (which is stellar, as you know), but I did have an amnio with Dr. Norton. I really liked her, thought she was very personable and skilled. Her true specialty, though, is CVS. She does many, many of them, and she is the head of the Genetic Testing dept. at UCSF, so she is one of the best. Her office should be able to tell you her miscarriage rate (as you probably know it is the provider-
specific rate that you want vs. the rate generally associated with the procedure). Good luck.
I am an ob/gyn NP and have many friends who are obstetricians,
and we all went to Mary Norton for our CVS's/amnios and wouldn't
consider going to anyone else. I had a CVS 6 weeks ago w/her,
and her miscarriage rate is less than a quarter of one percent. I would definitely keep your appointment with her. She is wonderful.
I had a CVS with Dr. Norton in February 2005. I recommend her highly. You could always call her office and ask her complication rate, which I did when choosing her: she's the head of the UCSF Prenatal Diagnosis Center and does 25 CVS procedures per *week* with a complication rate of 1/200 (better than the national average). Plus she and her staff were kind and competent.
Lucky to have a healthy son
I am considering whether to have a CVS test done and the posts
in the Advice section seem to be dated and focused on doctors
outside the Kaiser system. I am a Kaiser Oakland patient and
over-35. I would like to know whether anyone has had a CVS done
recently through Kaiser Oakland and what was their experience.
Specifically, how did you set up the test (e.g., did you talk to
your OB about it and get referred to someone else), how long did
the results take, and were you happy with the test. Since
Kaiser is such a bureaucracy, some advice on navigating through
this system would be helpful.
My CVS was in January 2003 at California Pacific in S.F. with
Dr. Jim Goldberg. He is considered the best in the Bay Area and
is a pioneer in the field of CVS--I had three miscarriages
before this pregnancy and my OB said she wouldn't send me (or
any of her patients) to anyone else. His miscarriage rate is
less than 1%. I was very nervous about the procedure, but he had
a reassuring bedside manner and it went remarkably quickly. It
barey hurt--just for a second. By the time my brain registered
the discomfort of the needle entry (I had it through the
stomach) the pain was already over.
You need to find out how long your doctor has been doing CVS and
what his/her personal rate of miscarriage is. But if it's
possible for you, I would seriously consider doing it with
Goldberg. And call for an appointment immediately--I called as
soon as I knew I was pregnant.
Finally, a question: How old are you? I was 41 when I was
pregnant and even then the chances are only 3% that a baby would
have, say, Down Syndrome. CVS isn't generally considered for
women under 38 or 39. If you're concerned about Down Syndrome,
you can get a nuchal fold screening which is entirely non-
invasive and pretty accurate. Also, CVS doesn't screen for tubal
defects--you'll have to get a blood test later for those. If you
have a specific risk for chromosomal abnormality, however, CVS
is a good choice, especially if you know you would terminate.
Finding out about the chromosomes so early in the pregnancy was
a relief. And waiting for amnio if you're at high risk can be
traumatic since you're generally feeling life by then.
Good luck and congratulations. Becoming a Mom at this age is
Happy Old Lady Mom
I'm 39 and I just had a CVS test throught Kaiser Oakland, and I
recommend with without reservations. I think my doctor made the
referral to the Genetics department, then someone called me and
sceduled it for me. If you have questions about the test,
procedures or risks, I would call the Oakland Genetics Dept.
they are really helpful and will explain things better and with
more patience than the Obg's seem to. They only do the
procedure at the SF and San Jose Kaiser facilities, which means
that those doctors have a lot of expereince with them. My test
was done like an amniocentesis, with a neddle thru your belly,
but depending on where the placenta is attached they may do it
vaginally. You won't know until the day of the procedure how
yours will be done. You have to have the test done between 10-
12 weeks and the doctor will confirm the date before he does
the test, you may be denied the test if you are not in the
correct weeks of pregnancy. The procedure itself took very
little time, but it is not very pleasant, since you have a
large neddle in you, but when it's over, you should feel fine.
(unless you are like me and wanted to pass out because you hate
neddles..) You will get results back in 2 weeks, just like an
amnio. I'm realy glad I did the test, because you have results
about 1.5 months before you would with an amnio. My
understanding is that this test is done ''all the time'' in SF,
but we in the East Bay tend to do more amnio's - but who knows
if that is true. Good luck.
Can anyone recommend a perinatologist outside of Kaiser? I'd
particularly like to find one with extensive knowledge of (and
treatment for) pregnancy and lupus anticoagulant antibodies.
I had a very difficult pregnancy with my first child and I was
in the Kaiser system. I think Jeffrey Maier out of Kaiser Walnut
Creek is excellent. He was the first one to accurately diagnose
the problem with my pregnancy and I felt I was in really
competent hands. Lee
Does anyone out there have experience with the perinatologists
at Kaiser-Oakland? My child was born two months premature, and
now that I am pregnant again, Kaiser wants to put me in a
special program it has for women at risk for premature births.
I'd love to hear about people's reactions to the program in
general and to the two perinatologists at Kaiser-oakland -- Dr.
Newman and Dr. Walton. Thanks!
I've had Dr. Walton for both my pregnancies and highly
recommend him. In my first pregnancy I had HELLP
Syndrome (severe preeclempsia) and delivered by
emergency c-section at 31 weeks (baby was IUGR and in
NICU for two months). I was hospitalized three days prior
with my condition undiagnosed and once on duty Dr. Walton
was the one who worked with the doctor monitoring my
condition; he took an aggressive course once it became
clear that immediate delivery was the only option. During
such a scary time he was extremely supportive, patient with
our numerous questions and fully explaining everything, but
at the same time being realistic about the seriousness of
the situation. He was not scheduled to be present at the
surgery but at my request he assisted (and allowed my
spouse to be there as well). Prior to this my only contact with
Dr. Walton had been that he had done my amnio earlier (he
also has a reputation for being a highly skilled technician).
When I was pregnant 2.5 years ago I didn't hesitate to
request Dr. Walton again since I was considered high-risk
(reoccurence of HELLP). I had some anomalies show up in
my blood work and needed follow-up tests every month.
During this time Dr. Walton again was very informative,
patient with questions and answers, and reassuring. He
didn't always have answers to my questions but would
research and get back to me with detailed information. He
also didn't hesitate to make referrals when needed, e.g., he
referred me to hematology for during- and post-pregnancy
followup. Dr. Walton was very accessible via email and
would call me at home in the evenings to discuss my test
results. I was also conflicted about whether I should try for a
VBAC or have a c-section so we would discuss this (along
with my birth plan) at length as well. About week 25, protein
in my urine showed up and I additionally had to be
monitored by the pre-term center in Santa Clara. This meant
that I checked for protein in the urine every morning,
checked my blood pressure twice a day, and spoke to a
nurse daily. Needless to say I ended up carrying to term with
a normal delivery.
In my experiences with Dr. Walton I always found him
extremely competent, professional, knowledgeable, and
funny (he has a dry sense of humor). When I found out I was
pregnant with #2 I was extremely relieved to find out that Dr.
Walton was still at Kaiser-Oak. I highly recommend him.
Feel free to email if you want to discuss anything else.
I went to Dr.
Jeffrey Maier at Kaiser Walnut Creek. While Dr. Maier is fairly business-like, he is extremely
competent, he told me my options and kept his personal views out
of it, he was the first one to identify the problem with the
pregnancy. I would recommend taking the trip to Walnut Creek. By
the way, he is now a gorgeous 3 year old who is pulling on my
arm as I write.
I am a medical professional who has worked with many
perinatologists over the past twenty years and can give the
highest recommendations for Drs. Walton and Newman at Kaiser
Oakland. I saw Dr. Walton for my pregnancy, and in addition to
being incredibly up to date in his knowledge of this field (which
is highly technical and changes at a fast pace), he bent over
backwards to listen to my concerns and do his best to do what was
necessary to reassure me about my growing baby (who turned out to
be perfect, in spite of my worries). Dr. Newman is also one of
the best, and has been doing this for a long time. They are both
committed professionals who care a great deal about their
I've had experiences with both Dr. Newman and Dr. Walton
regarding my two breech babies, born 2 years apart. I had
unsuccesful external versions with both, and still wanted to try
for natural childbirth. With my first, Dr. Newman seemed to think
a vaginal breech delivery was possibly and not unduly risky. He
supported my desire to try, and even arranged for a CAT scan of
my pelvis to see if the baby's head would fit. When the time came
and I was in labor for 72 hours, he did not agree to assist the
vaginal delivery (he was the Dr. on call) and we went ahead and
had a c-section. I never called to find out why - I actually
think it was a good decision, since 3 days of labor had exhausted
all my physical resources and I did not have it in me to push the
I felt like Dr. Newman was experienced and knowledgeable, but
quite short on bedside manner - barely looked you in the eye.
Dr. Walton is much more personable and also more cautious. He
recommended against having a VBAC at my 4 month visit (at that
time I wanted one, not knowing my second baby would also turn out
to be breech!). I definitely was not up for trying the vaginal
breech birth the second time around, so that didn't even come up,
but he did perform an external version on me that was pretty
gentle and ultimately unsuccessful (he didn't want to ''bust my
I don't know if this is relevant information - I hope it helps.
2 breech babies - 2 c-sections
I had a high-risk pregnancy also and was assigned to Drs.
Walton & Newman. Of the two, I preferred Dr. Walton. They do
see each others patients so are a bit ''interchangeable'' in that
way; you'll probably get to know them both. I wouldn't
describe either as having a great bedside manner, though I
would definitely give Dr. Walton higher marks in this regard
than Dr. Newman. I did feel confident in Dr. Walton's
abilility to manage my high-risk pregnancy, though his
communication (both content, and style) could certainly
improve. Basically, I would
just ''accept'' that this is what you have given your high-risk
pregnancy; you do want the specialists. I remember some of the
nurses as being quite helpful and competent. Best of luck,
Mom of a preemie at Kaiser Oakland
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