Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation
(Berkeley and Orinda, CA)
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Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (Regent St & Camino Encinas)
Berkeley website: http://www.sebmf.org/locserv/loc_2999_regent_701.html
Orinda website: http://www.sebmf.org/locserv/loc_12_camino_encinas.html
Berkeley: 2999 Regent St Suite 701 510-845-4200
Orinda: 12 Camino Encinas 925-254-9000
This practice was previously known as Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health
Doctors reviewed on this page:
Angelyn Thomas (previous reviews here.)
James Sakamoto now practices at Kaiser Oakland
Kurt Wharton now has his own practice.
Dr. Poddatoori - Does anyone have any experience with her? I just moved to Berkeley
and she was the only doctor with availability at Sutter East Bay.
Am pregnant so need a doctor soon!
Dr. Poddatoori was not my OBGYN (I had Dr Thomas) but she
was the one on shift when I delivered my 2nd child. It was
an uncomplicated labor and delivery (unlike my 1st child)
and she was good. She is young and newer to the profession.
When she came in (and I was in heavy heavy labor - at 10
cm) my insane pain was put on hold for a millisecond by the
thought of - who is this child? can she possibly be a
doctor?! Ha. All that to say that she is young (and I am
only 30) which has both its benefits and its drawbacks. She
allowed my bag of water to break on its own, (most doctors
do not want to deal with splashing on them) which I took as
an indication of her progressive practice. She also tugged
too hard, too quickly on the cord after my daughter was born
(my husband is a nurse, and he was bothered by this) which
meant part of the placenta tore off and she had to go
through the EXTREMELY painful process of reaching inside of
me to pull it out. So I think her newness has its benefits
and drawbacks, but overall I thought she was a good doctor,
and had a nice, warm demeanor.
Re: Looking for an ObGyn
Although I have always had a female OBGYN (or their nurse
practitioner as was often the case), Dr Girard of Orinda
and Berkeley (male, can't remember first name)delivered my
second child. I switched to him as my OBGYN and could not
be happier. He is the first doc I have had that spends
time listening. He sits me down in his office (while I am
still dressed like a normal human) for about 10 minutes
before each checkup to talk about how I am feeling, any
changes, etc. He was a fabulous delivery doc but since I
will not be having any more kids, I appreciate him even
more for taking the time to explain changes to 50 year old
bodies, etc. He is a character and may not be for
everyone, but he appears to have genuine compassion for
people and an intellectual curiosity and love for his line
of work. Big Orinda office impersonal but lots of great
backup docs if emergencies: 510/845-4200
best doc I ever had
Re: OB with great bedside manner
I would highly recommend Dr. John Girard. He is with
Berkeley Orinda Women's Health though I think he only sees
patients in Orinda these days. He has always made me feel
completely at ease and he always makes me laugh. He is
honest, concerned and just has that touch. I completely
trust what he says and what he does. I've also seen the
other doctors in his group during my two pregnancies and
everybody has been fantastic. Good luck.
Re: Ob Gyn who is GREAT at C-sections
I delivered my first baby via c-section with Dr. Jill Foley - and
she and the whole team at Alta Bates were fantastic. Dr. Foley has
a great combination of warm bedside manner, a very no non-sense
approach to answering questions, and has always been very prompt at
getting me help with any issues around both my pregnancies and
deliveries. She also delivered my second one via VBAC - and was
wonderful during that experience, too, very encouraging, and spent
a lot of time, not just during the actual delivery, but also the 9
During the c-section, both my husband and I were very impressed by
how professional the whole team was - everything was
double-checked, with amazing precision, and at the same time, the
experience was much more positive than I had anticipated.
Dr. Foley practices in Berekley (right next to Alta Bates) and
Orinda; her office phone number is 510-204-8180.
Happy with OB/GYN for c-section & VBAC
Re: Homebirth-friendly OB Gyn
Hi, I had two wonderful homebirths with Beah Haber and was overseen by a
wonderful OB as well, Angelyn Thomas. She never once questioned my
decision to have a home birth, prescribed whatever tests I needed
(although I later learned Beah could do that as well) and was just
wonderful. I've recommended Dr. Thomas to several friends who have not
had home births and they've all been happy. Also, I recommend a guy named
Lance Dursi in Los Gatos for your ultrasounds. He is far more wonderful
than any facility you'll find in the east bay or SF. Email me if you
have any questions about a homebirth or anything else. Good luck! Jen
Re: Post-menopause, seeking new female gyn
Katarina Lanner-Cusin, M. D. of Berkeley and UCSF and Marilyn Honegger,
M.D. of Berkeley and Orinda are fabulous. Hopefully you could get in to
see one or both. Dr. Honegger is my gyn, and a great diagnostician who
is much in demand for surgery. Kararina performed surgery on my grown
daughter, who flew back here from a job in Hawaii for the surgery
because there was no one as good there. You might research their
specific areas of surgical expertise, if you can. Both are also
wonderful people, by the way. Best of luck.
Re: ObGyn for 17-year-old daughter
I recommend Dr. John Girard, who works in a group with
offices in Berkeley and Orinda. I have a young daughter
who was quite sensitive about going to see a GYN
specialist, but who was absolutely delighted with Dr.
Girard. He has a good sense of humor and immediately put
her at ease.
My wife was so happy with him that she switched from her
own GYN and now sees Dr. Girard.
Re: Female ObGyn who delivers at Alta Bates
Try Jill Foley at Berkeley Orinda Women's Health (name has changed slightly).
Jill was my ob/gyn for two pregnancies--very good! Other doctors in the practice
delivered, and they were both great! Practice now has a nurse/midwive for
I highly recommend a doula for births at Alta Bates. The two nurses I had did not
have the types of personalities that would have successfully gotten me through two
mom of two
Our baby was born with unexpected medical
issues, and our doctor, Arzou Ahsan,
came to see us in the hospital every day we were there (even
though she was not on call), and even went up to the NICU a number of times to
check in on the baby. This extra support was above and beyond the call of duty,
but shows how much she cares.
In the end, it was Dr. Jill Foley on call for the birth of our baby. She, too, was
wonderful, and helped us to have exactly the birth we had hoped for: no
interventions or drugs, lots of calm reassurance and guidance. I also recommend
her very highly.
Re: ObGyn for 17-year-old daughter
I liked my old GYN before she moved her practice and had a
REALLY BAD billing experience at her new office. Dr. Angeline Thomas, she's
really thorough and gentle. (510) 845-4200. Good luck!
Re: OB GYN rec - good with PPD
First of all, congratulations on beeing ppd free and also on
making the smart, life affirming decision to take care of
yourself the second time around. I would highly recommend Dr.
I also had ppd with my 1st child (not w/ dr. thomas) and began
seeing dr. thomas in preparation for my 2nd, so she was with
me through the whole thing. She was wonderful and is very
knowledgeable about all treatments, from antidepressants to
natural stuff. She is very kind and understanding. She also
worked *extremely* well with my birth duola, Treesa Mclean, (
I think 510-581-1013) probably the best and most experienced
duola in the bay area. Treesa worked with me to help meet all
my needs througout my pregnancy, labor and delivery, and well
after. It was great to have two wonderful women looking out
for me. When my 2nd had complications and had to be sent to
the NICU at birth (was very scary but ended up just fine)
Treesa was there with us, guiding us through medical decisions
for him, advocating for us, and she stayed with me the first
night in the hospital when I had to be separated from my son.
She helped me pump so my milk would come in and held my hand
and reassured me all night that all would be well. Because of this my
husband was able to be with our son. It all worked out fine
and in the end we had a perfectly healthy mom and baby, but if
it weren't for Treesa and Dr. Thomas I'm not sure mom would
have been so healthy :-) I ended up w/ no relapse in
depression, tho I did take antidepressants for the pregnancy
and first few months just to be safe. I hope this helps !
Re: Berkeley Oakland Walnut Creek OB GYN
I've been going to Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health forever, at least 10
years. I have never once (not once!) had to wait more than 5 minutes. In
fact, I often look forward to a short wait at the doctor's office to
relax and read a magazine, but at BOWH I have never gotten further than a
couple of pages into any magazine. I see Dr. Girard and love him, but
saw almost all of the other doctors during my pregnancy (and delivery at
Alta Bates) in 2003, and liked them all very much. They have offices in
Berkeley and Orinda. Yesterday I called for a yearly exam and they had
appointments immediately. They are great. I could do without their new
phone system (now THERE's a wait for you), but have had nothing but good
experiences at this office.
Re: Looking For OBGYN
All my friends love either Dr. Girgis in Oakland or Dr. Angelyn
Thomas in Berkeley. I go to Dr. Thomas and she's a youngish
African American woman who went to Harvard. She's gentle,
competant and all the friends I have referred to her are
Re: GYN In Lamorinda
I see Dr. Marilyn Honegger in Orinda. From what I hear she has a very big
following and I have been happy with her.
Re: East Bay Ob Gyn that answers their phone?
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health, now Sutter something East Bay Something Medical Foundation
or something not very memorable. I have to leave a message once I get beyond the
receptionists, but I always get a call back within a few hours. They even called me back
after I left a frantic message before I was a patient to give me a same-day appointment when
I was only five weeks pregnant and worried about it.
Re: OB GYN in Berkeley or North Oakland?
Two of the best are Arzou Ahsan and Jill Folley --two different practices which work
together to cover call. They are all the things you are looking for. Not sure if
they are taking new patients or not. Good luck.
Re: OB/GYN for VBAC in East Bay area
It's great that you're already thinking ahead to your next
delivery, but the VBAC policy will most likely evolve over time.
Not only does your OB have to be supportive, but everyone who
might be covering her call schedule has to be on board for VBACs.
My OB, Dr. Jill Foley, was totally supportive of my VBAC choice
in January (and she was great in general), but her office joined
forces with another practice for call coverage. Not everyone in
the larger group seemed as flexible as she, and you never know
who will show up for your delivery. Good luck!
A Successful VBAC-er
Re: Lesbian/queer friendly ob-gyn?
My best friend and I, both queer moms, love our ob-gyns at
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health. Mine is John Girard. He's
kind of old-school, but I love him. Very relaxed and funny.
I'm a very low-maintenance patient, so I can't say how he would
be with a person who asked a lot of questions, etc., but he was
always very supportive about my fertility stuff. Jill Foley is
my friend's ob-gyn, and she did the insemination that resulted
in the birth of my daughter (now 3). Kurt Wharton (now with a
different practice) delivered my daughter, and he is absolutely
wonderful, too. You can check the archives for reviews of Drs.
Girard, Foley and Wharton . . . I wrote one back in June 2005
as well. Hope this helps!
Grateful for My Great Ob-Gyn
Re: Hematologist Familiar with MTHFR Issues
While I don't have a recommendation for a hematologist I too am homozygous with the
MFTHR defect. My obgyn Angelyn Thomas diagnosed me after a couple of miscarriages.
She successfully managed my treatment during pregnancy and I now have a very healthy
baby boy! She mentioned that she had a few patients with this disorder and seemed
very knowledgeable. Maybe you just need a new ob? Feel free to contact me if you
want - I was pretty spooked when I started doing more research on this disorder but
got some good answers from Dr Thomas and have a happy success story.
Re: Progressive OBGYN recommendation
I chose Berkeley-Orinda
Women's Health in part for their responsive office staff and willingness to see me
right away (the Orinda office, anyway). I found Drs. Honegger and Foley to be
terrific and supportive of my natural birth. My story is in the archives -- Dr.
even stopped the nurse from giving me a postnatal pitocin shot. Even though the
practice was bought out, the characters of the doctors don't change.
Re: Need new ob/gyn in East Bay for OD pregnancy
I have had wonderful experiences with all of the doctors at
Berkeley Orinda Women's health in Orinda. I delivered in August
and saw Drs. Foley, Honneger, and Girard throughout my pregnancy
and while in the hospital - they were all absolutely wonderful!
I just found out I'm pregnant again and my OB practice, Berkeley Orinda Women's
Health, has had a bit of a shuffle this year that isn't reflected on the website. Dr.
Sakamoto left the practice to teach. Dr. Wharton has struck out on his own in
Lafayette. They've added another fairly new woman doctor named Dr. Sandu and I
haven't heard anything about her. I adore Dr. Wharton but don't know if I want to
work with a solo doctor (and all the way over in Lafayette at that). But I've had
mixed experiences with the other doctors from that practice. I don't know whether
to stay, try Dr. Wharton's new private practice, or just find a whole new practice.
Does anyone have any information about the new doctor Sandu, about the changes
there, and whether the practice itself has changed much. The last reviews are over a
Likewise, it seems that Omni Medical (that used to share call group with BOWH) has
disbanded completely. Dr. Huibonhoa (who I always heard fabulous things about) is
on her own now.
I want a doctor (man or woman) that's willing to let me labor naturally, without IVs
and monitoring, and won't rush to intervene if things get a little bumpy during
labor. (My last labor stalled out at 15 hours, but I eventually delivered at about 18
Any info is much appreciated.
We've used Dr Foley at BOWH and been quite happy. Don't know
anything about the new doctor. We also liked Drs. Wharton and
Sakamoto and were bummed that they left.
Also heard good things about Dr. Huibonhoa, too. She was
actually the one who delivered our daughter as she was on call
Bottom line is you need to feel comfortable with your doctor.
If you don't like BOWH, then find another.
While I know that the practice has undergone some changes
lately, I would definitely recommend you at least schedule an
appointment with Dr. Sandu to see how you like her. Granted I
am done with my childbearing, however I found Dr. Sandu
absolutely terrific, very astute and someone I will definitely
trust with my health (I have a history of cancer in my family
so I am quite selective about my medical care). Dr. Sandu was
very thorough in her exam, asked lots of questions and brought
up issues that I hadn't previously discussed, and appeared very
well-informed. She is quite young, but IMHO, that works to our
advantage in that she is up-to-date on the latest information
on women's health issues. I am a former patient of Dr.
Sakamoto's and was terribly saddened to see him leave the
practice. However I think Dr. Sandu will provide an even
better and more informed level of care for my needs. I am
interested to see what others say about her delivery and
bedside manners. I certainly plan to stay with the practice
with her as my doctor.
I met MD Sandu and liked her a lot. I gave birth in march, 2005,
none of the doctors from the practice were there.
personally I think they're better off without MD Sakamoto. He
stripped my membranes once without asking or even infoming me.
and I was one single day overdue! I'm still kind peeved about it.
I didn't know Wharton left. that's a shame
I am a patient of Dr. Wharton's and was under his care for my
second pregnancy when he was in the processing of moving to his
own practice. I actually ended up delivering early via C-
Section with Dr. Honegger two days before Dr. Wharton's first
day solo. I was very impressed with Dr. Honegger's bedside
manner and presence prior to and during the surgery. It
happened very suddenly and she was very understanding and
calming. Dr. Wharton had performed my first C-Section and he is
tough to beat.
That being said, I did have a slight complication from the
second C-Section with a nerve root being tied into my internal
incision. Not dangerous but unbelievably painful. Dr. Wharton
actually made a housecall on a Saturday morning to diagnose the
problem as he didn't want me mobile until he knew what was going
on. He really does take a personal interest in your care. I
now make the trek out to Lafayette to see him and it is worth
Hi, I'm a former Berkeley/Orinda OBGYN patient and Dr.
Sakamoto's at that. I loved Dr. Sakamoto was my OB with my two
children. I had met Dr. Wharton several times. When
Dr.Sakamoto left, I saw Dr. Wharton and have followed him to his
new digs in Lafayette. I live in El Cerrito. It's worth it.
He's available, helpful and personable. He really wanted to go
on his own so he could provide more service. It's worked out
well for me.
As of October 1st, Berkeley Orinda Women's Health has become a
part of larger medical group and the name has changed to
something along the lines of Summit Medical Foundation (I can't
remember exactly). As you say, both Dr. Sakamoto (my former
doctor) and Dr. Wharton have left. I really liked Dr. Sandu,
who I saw several times after Dr. Sakamoto left, but she has
also left. My current experience there as a pregnant patient
is that it is much more difficult to get appointments. The
remaining doctors (who I think are all good) seem to be
stretched very thin and getting prenatal appointments in
Berkeley is difficult (have had to go to the Orinda office more
often). I'm not sure what the future implications of this
merge into the larger practice are, but after this baby I'm
planning to look around for another practice.
I'm a Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health patient, and I gave birth to my son
completely naturally at Alta Bates about two months ago. Dr. Honegger is my
''official'' OB, and Foley delivered him. I was hooked up to the monitors for the
pushing, but she didn't make me get an IV, and she even prevented the nurse from
giving me the Pitocin injection after delivery. I must say that I labored at home for
the first 23 hours, showing up at the hospital just for the last hour (already
completely dilated and ready to push). So there wasn't much opportunity for
I've only been a patient of theirs for the past year, so I can't say if the practice has
changed, but over the course of my pregnancy I saw all the doctors, and I liked
them all okay. Dr. Sandu I only saw once, but she is young and took the time to sit
down and listen (as does Dr. Foley). They are all medically-oriented, of course, with
fairly speedy office visits focused on checking the vitals rather than discussing diet,
birthing techniques, etc. When I expressed my anxieties about birth, they all
thought I would find it reassuring that if labor was too hard or too scary, there were
drugs they could give me.
I was looking for minimal intervention, so I asked questions like, ''Will I have to have
continuous monitoring?'' and ''For how long will you let me push?'' Dr. Honegger, in
her amusing pragmatic way, would make no promises. It all depends, she would
say, and would suggest that I practice relinquishing control. Another day, though,
when I was expressing doubt that I'd be able to handle a natural birth, she did say
that if I was committed and if I had enough support (meaning my husband and
doula) there was no reason I couldn't have a natural birth. I appreciated that.
Congratulations! And good luck with your decision.
It seems as if Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health has been bought up
by Sutter and a number of the doctors have split away (I know
that Dr. Wharton has started a solo practice in Lafayette and
Dr. Sakamoto has apparently joined Kaiser). Does anyone know
who from the old practice has stayed on with Sutter? Are there
new doctors there as well? Is the practice worth staying with?
I have been unable to get anyone at the new practice to return a
lost my OB
I just had an appt with Dr. Foley at Berkeley Orinda Women's
Health (or Sutter, whatever it's called) and didn't even
realize there had been a change until they handed me a slip
explaining it all. I have only ever seen Dr. Foley (for 4+
years and love her) so I can't speak to others within the
practice. I didn't notice any change in my care or the way my
entire appt went and was still very happy with my care and the
ease of making appts (love that they offer late appts some
nights too). Hope this helps...
I can wholeheartedly recommend any of the remaining physicians
at what used to be called Berkeley Orinda women's health. Dr.
John Girard is amazing; the best OBGYN. Very caring, supportive,
honest, doing what is right for both mother and baby.He
delivered my son 11 months ago. The other doctors
in the practice -- Jill Foley, Marilyn Hoenegger, and Dr.
Sandu -- are excellent as well. I saw all of them during my
pregnancy and both Dr. Foley and Dr. Hoenegger (as well as Dr.
Girard) during delivery. The offices are the best run in the
business. I've never waited more than 10 minutes, a tremendous
difference from most other practices and the nursing staff is
very knowledgeable and helpful.
I've been with Berkeley/Orinda Women's Health for the past year
or so. You are correct that Dr. Sakamoto has left the
practice. Dr. Sandhu was new, but has left the practice
already. I'm not sure why, but I only saw her once; she was
the one doctor in the practice that I just wasn't comfortable
My primary doctor there is Dr. Jill Foley, but I also saw Dr.
Honneger and Dr. Girard throughout my pregnancy (I just
delivered in August with Dr. Girard). I can't say enough good
about them and their practice.
I can't speak to your desire to labor naturally, as my water
broke and I had to be helped along with pitocin (and an
epidural), but I can say that the doctors really listened to me
and respected my desires throughout the entire process.
I would not worry about the shuffling. The doctors who are
still there are all EXCELLENT - caring, competent, and
I think the Sutter buy-out just happened (they gave me a fact sheet on it this
Tuesday, but not when I was there last eight weeks ago), while Drs. Wharton and
Sakamoto have been gone at least since January 2005 (when I first went there).
They claim nothing will change as far as patient care, but I think it's too soon to tell.
Over the last nine months (I just had a baby) I saw Drs. Honegger, Foley, Sandu, and
Girard, as well as the practice's CNM. I liked all of them all right, although they tend
to rush through appointments unless you practically block the door. Foley and
Sandu are the best at actually sitting down and saying, ''Any questions?'' and actually
waiting for a response! I'm surprised that no one called you back; I chose them due
to their stellar response time and helpful office staff (Orinda office).
Re: Smart Obgyn (June 2005)
I recently saw Marilyn Honneger for the first time. Dr. Sakamoto
was my obgyn but he left the practice and I switched to Dr.
Honneger. I too am post-child bearing and was satisfied with my
routine visit. Her bedside manner is pleasant and she is open to
Re: Smart Obgyn (June 2005)
I have been seeing Dr. Kurt Wharton for three years. I think
he is phenomenal. He has an excellent bedside manner and is
a ''straight-shooter'' at the same time. I was his patient when
he practiced with Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health and moved with
him to his new practice. While I was a patient at BOWH, I saw
Foley and Honneger; I did not care for Dr. Foley, I found her
to be a bit brash. Honneger was okay. Good luck with finding
Satisfied with driving to Lafayette
Re: Smart Obgyn (June 2005)
I've been a patient of Dr. Girard's for many years and I think
he is wonderful. Relaxed, funny, definitely a straight-
shooter. I also saw Dr. Honegger, Dr. Foley and Dr. Wharton
during my pregnancy. I think they're all great and couldn't be
happier with this practice. Dr. Wharton delivered my child while
he was still at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health with Dr. Girard
and Co.I find all
of these doctors to be warm and caring and, importantly, always
on time! In contrast to another person who found Dr.
Foley ''brash,'' I found her to be really concerned and helpful.
I had been given some advice to be more aggressive about trying
to conceive and told my ''numbers'' (FSH, etc.)were ''bad.'' Dr.
Foley thought that was ridiculous and that I'd be pregnant any
moment. In fact, I was pregnant 2 weeks later and Dr. Foley
prevented me from spending $1000 on the unneeded ''fertility
workup.'' Dr. Wharton is also great and definitely worth a drive
to Lafayette. Actually, I live in Albany and mostly choose to
see Dr. Girard in Moraga because I work in Co. Co. County and
it's easier to park at the Moraga office. Having said all this,
I have to say I am a very low-maintenance patient. I don't know
what it would be like if I had lots of questions. But Dr.
Girard always has an visit in his office before my exam and asks
if there's anything I want to talk about, and I've never felt
like any of these doctors discourages questions.
Big Fan of BOWH
I am a very healthy 38 year old woman pregnant with my first
child. My OBGYN is Dr. Angelyn Thomas. It is really
important to me to have a delivery that is as free of
intervention (i.e. drugs, i.v.'s, monitors, etc.) as possible. We
have weighed our options carefully about where to have this
baby and decided I will deliver at Alta Bates (Summit's Labor
and Delivery is closing this summer). I really want to be able
to move around while in labor particularly while pushing (I
don't want to be restricted to being on my back while I push
unless absolutely necessary). I am wondering if anyone has
any experience with Dr. Thomas and her group, particularly
around natural birth and her philosophy about intervention
and natural child birth? Also any words of wisdom or
recommendations about delivering at Alta Bates would be
great also. Any information or advice will be welcome.
I'm also 38 and just had my first child in January at Summit w/
Dr. Thomas. She's really great about listening and adhering to
your concerns/desires. If you feel especially strongly, type up a
birthing plan (http://www.babycenter.com/calculators/birthplan/)
and give it to the staff at the hospital -- I didn't need one w/
Dr. Thomas -- I told her beforehand what my wishes were (no meds,
no episiotomies, nothing that might harm the baby in any way) --
w/ room for flexibility should the medical need arise. the
childbirth prep nurse/instructor also advised to tell the nursing
staff to not offer you meds (put it on your chart in case of
I also wanted to have all natural childbirth -- figuring billions
of women have done so, so could I. unfortunately, it didn't work
out that way (my water broke and the baby hadn't dropped, I
wasn't dilating and stopped dilating as soon as they stopped
inducing -- after 21 hours, I was only at 6cm) so we opted for
the c-section -- which she already warned us might happen (9 lbs.
plus baby, bicornuate uterus).
I don't know what Alta Bates is like but Summit had a full range
of options -- their birthing rooms have showers (some w/ jacuzzi
tubs) and the beds are multi-positional so you can get into any
position you want. Unless you have an epidural (requires constant
monitoring and they don't offer walking epidurals) you should be
able to walk around.
I'm sure Dr. Thomas would honor your wishes unless it's medically
inadvisable. My best advice is to request a second ultrasound a
few weeks before your due date -- it enabled us to know how big
the baby was (he was at 39 wk size at 36 weeks w/ head diameter
at 10cm) and gave us a more accurate view of what delivery would
be like and to think about our options. also, I have a friend who
just gave birth after a healthy pregnancy and the baby turned out
to have severe cerebral and respiratory problems and died 2 days
later -- they didn't get the 2nd ultrasound and I wonder if it
might have been helpful though I don't think it would have
changed anything but you never know.
feel free to contact me if you have further questions and good luck.
I had Dr. Thomas birth my now 5-month old daughter. I found Dr.
Thomas very open minded and willing to accomodate. I really
love her. To my disappointment Dr. Thomas showed up only to
catch the baby, she asked to be called when the baby was
crowning. I was very surprised since I thought she was going to
be with me for a big part of the labor but she showed up for the
last 5 minutes. The nurse said that that is very common. It was
the nurses who were there for the whole labor and let me labor
the way I wanted to. Maybe find out what the nurses at Alta
Bates are like. I hear wonderful things about them.
Dr. Thomas delivered my baby last September. I also wanted a
drug-free labor with the ability to labor in the shower, on a
birthing ball, etc. Dr. Thomas's advice was supportive (said
many women can go through entire labor without an iv) but also
suggested not to make any hard and fast rules regarding pain
meds and see how the labor progressed. She encourages laboring
in a variety of positions but requires that you are on your
back for delivering the baby. I like Dr. Thomas and found her
to be very competent and calm during the delivery. If you
would like more information, my email is email@example.com.
Good for you in seeking what you want! If you want as little
intervention as possible in a hospital setting, I highly suggest
you find a nurse-midwife. The things you desire are a midwife's
goal. Also, most OBs and many midwives show up just to ''catch''
the baby- it's the labor and delivery nurses that really matter
(and they sometimes change their style depending on who the OB/
Tell your doctor about your wishes and see how she responds.
You'll get a sense of how often she catches babies with mom on
her hands and knees!
Childbirth at Alta Bates,
Childbirth at Summit,
and La Clinica Ob Gyns
Re: ObGyn for a VBAC (May 2004)
I missed the original posting, so this response is a little
late. I'm happy to say that I had a successful unmedicated VBAC
two months ago at Alta Bates. My obstetrician, Marilyn
Honegger, was exceptionally supportive throughout my pregnancy,
not only of my desire to attempt a vaginal birth but also of my
decision to forgo an amnio (I'm 40 years old). The other
doctors in her office, East Bay Women's Health, also knew of and
respected my choices. My situation may have been a little
unusual in that my first baby was delivered by cesarian due to
fetal distress rather than failure to progress, so I was a good
candidate for a VBAC. Still, I highly recommend that you
contact EBWH. In addition to supporting women's personal
decisions about their births, it's a wonderful practice in
countless other ways, with a well-organized office, kind and
sensible nurses, and some really great doctors.
Re: ObGyn for Over 40 (August 2003)
Hi there, I'm only in my late 20s, but Dr. Marilyn Honegger at
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is a very professional OB/GYN
whom you may feel comfortable with. Dr. Foley, who is around my
age, is my primary OB in the practice, but I saw Dr. Honegger a
few times when Dr. Foley wasn't available for my pregnancy
checkups and she made me feel very much at ease, which is no
mean feat for an OB/GYN, given the nature of the job. I'd guess
she's probably in her 50s and exudes a very calm, capable and
Re: ObGyn for Over 40 (August 2003)
John Girard at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health may be the guy for you.
Very experienced, very funny and very gentle. He does a fair
amount of OB, but is moving more toward gyn exclusively.
Re: Fibroid Surgery (June 2003)
Dr. Kurt Wharton at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health did
laparascopic surgery on me last fall. The surgery went fine,
and I barely have a scar from the procedure. I have heard
others say that he is a fine surgeon too for c-sections and
Re: Fibroid Surgery (June 2003)
I would like to recommend my
OB/GYN, Angelyne Thomas, she is also a surgeon and removed a
fibroid from me last year. She is very gentle, thorough, patient,
and knowledgable. She's in Oakland, her number is (510) 653-0846.
Her office is on 34th St, and she works out of Summit Medical
Hi -- I just found out that I am pregnant, and I am looking for
an OB who spends more than five minutes per visit with patients
and who delivers most of her babies. A friend of mine
recommended Dr. Angelyn Thomas. I would love to hear about
people's experiences with her, especially when it comes to
pregnancy and childbirth. Thanks! AD
I don't regularly see Angelyn Thomas, but am a patient of her
partner Dr. Gentry. While I was pregnant, though, I saw Dr.
Thomas around the office and she was very friendly and took the
time to get to know me. I also saw her once, when Dr. Gentry was
away. I was pleased with her.
I have been seeing Dr. Angelyn Thomas for about a year now and am
completely happy. I plan to have her deliver my next baby. She
spends a lot of time with her patients and is wonderful about
answering questions. I have found her to be flexible, warm,
intelligent, and a consumate professional. I hope this helps.
Dr. Thomas is extremely professional. Despite running a busy
practice I found her willing and happy to answer all of my
questions (which were many) and address my concerns regarding my
pregnancy. She was there for the birth and did a fantastic job
leading the team. It was a bit of a stressful delivery at the
end but Dr. Thomas was very capable and confident in her
ability. I recommend her highly.
dr. thomas is wonderful- she has been my gyn for the past 3
years-last year i became pregnant and she was my ob- she always
took her time with me, answered all my questions and was very
caring. my labor was rather difficult in the end and she was
very level-headed and professional.if you have any questions
please contact me
I'm interested in recent experiences and references specifically
on Dr. James Sakamoto of the Berkeley/Orinda Womens Health Group.
I have read the previous recommendations on the website
regarding Drs. Foley and Honegger of his group, but am scheduled
to meet with Dr. Sakamoto. Any info about his attitude towards
interventional aids for childbirth, bedside manners, etc. would
be appreciated. Thanks.
I saw Dr. Sakamoto a number of times during my pregnancy and
after my child's birth. I was struck by his reassuring and clear
way of communicating. He was very receptive to all my questions
and had a great bedside manner with both me and my husband who
came to the prenatal visits with me. Also, he was the doctor on
call while my friend was in labor, and my friend had glowing
things to say about how he handled the birth of her son. I would
recommend Dr Sakamoto.
My doctor at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is Dr. Girard, but Dr.
Sakamoto delivered my second baby. He is not my favorite of the doctors
at that practice. Once in my second pregnancy at 33 weeks I was feeling
regular contractions and was worried and I called the practice to report
it. The nurse on the phone was concerned enough to say that Dr. Sakamoto
the doctor on call would call me back, but he never did. I called back
and she told me she had faxed my chart over, and she would try to get him
to call me
back again. I ended up coming in to see someone else, but my next
with Dr. Sakamoto I asked him about it and he told me "they must not have
faxed over your chart" which was not true, since I had seen it in the hand
the doctor I eventually saw. Additionally, I felt as though he should have
responsibility for the error in any case. I also called him after the birth
second child when I was passing very large clots, since he was the doctor on
call, and he took a *very* (nearly two hours)long time to call back, and
told me "not to worry about it" based on nothing at all. I decided not to
see him at all during my third pregnancy, and was very happy with the
I love Dr. Sakamoto. He wasn't my primary doctor at that
practice, but I would pick him in the future, now that I know
all of them. (However, all the docs there are good.) He's a
sweet man, who knows his stuff. He was the one who made the
call on Day 3!! of my induced labor to up the pitosin to high
enough levels so that I finally responded and did not need a C-
section. Pick him.
Sakamoto is excellent--clinically and surgically saavy with a
nice bedside manner. He would be my first choice after Richard
Dr. Kurt Wharton is my wonderful OBGYN who is part of the
Berkely-Orinda Women's Health, of which Dr. Sakamoto belongs to
During my pre-natal care, I had to see all of the doctors, Dr.
Sakamoto being one of them. I highly recommend all of the
doctors in this practice (especially Dr. Wharton). Although
extremly friendly and professionally, I did not find Dr.
Sakamoto's bedside manner to be as nurturing as Dr. Wharton and
Dr. Jill Folly. He seems to be very clinical. Another friend of
mine who delivered with Dr. Wharton also had similar issues with
Dr Sakamoto's bedside manner.
He is an excellent doctor though and I think it might just be a
matter of personality fit, therefore you would have to see for
yourself if he is a good fit for you. However in terms of
recommending a practice, I think you would find you would be in
great hands with the practice and doctors here in general.
My wife is out of town, otherwise I am sure she would
respond . . We think Dr. Sakamoto is fantastic. Great manner,
great listener, very flexible. We switched to him for the birth
of our second child (the first was with a midwife) and couldn't
have been happier. My wife continues to use him for GYN.
I am a patient of Dr. Wharton's but Dr. Sakamoto was the doctor
on call when I went into labor. He was the one doctor from the
practice who I had not met so I was very nervous when I found
out that he would be the one delivering my child. However, I
found him to be wonderful. I had a few complications during
labor and in addition to that my husbands father passed away
shortly after our son was born. Dr. Sakamoto was very kind to
us and spent a lot of time supporting us both as new parents
and my husband in the loss of his dad. You would be in good
hands with Dr. Sakamoto.
I saw Dr.Sakamoto several times during my pregnancy and
have seen him once since, though Dr. Honegger is my
primary physician in that practice. He has a very nice
''bedside manner'' and is a thorough clinician. I have had
only good experiences with him.
James Sakamoto is one of the finest doctors I have ever
encountered, and I have been fortunate in consulting some
extraordinary physicians. He is gentle,caring,and sensitive,
highly knowledgeable, and smart. He does not hurry you through
an appointment, and gauges your understanding--psychological and
informational (i.e.,as a matter of health/medical science)--of
his assessments and recommendations and acts accordingly, taking
greater care and/or going into greater depth as the situation--
and you--require. Dr. Sakamoto has been my OB/GYN over 20
years, shepherding me through miscarriages, 3 pregnancies,the
specter of cancer, and now menopause. I have an ongoing OB/GYN
medical condition that requires periodic consultation with Dr.
Sakamoto. Twice in the past year I have failed to check in and
report--once because of a family crisis and more recently
because of the death of a parent. In both instances, he
initiated the required follow through. This man is a highly
skilled and caring physician, and a rare human being. Consider
yourself fortunate to be able to secure his services.
Appreciative, Long-Time Patient
I've been seeing Dr. Sakamoto for 4 years now. I saw him
througout the pregnancy/birth of my first daughter almost 4
years ago (although Dr. Girard delivered) and then he was my OB
for my last pregnancy, which was a complicated twin pregnancy...
(he ended up referring me out to a perinatologist) In my
dealings with him, I was always very happy. He is very
traditional, though, and errs on the conservative side. Some
may even call his attitudes towards certain things ''old
school.'' Please feel free to email me if you have any specific
questions, but I would definitely recommend him and the rest of
I really like Dr. Sakamoto. Like you, I'd initially called the
practice he belongs to because of the posts here about Dr.
Honnegar. She was busy, so my first appointment was with him.
I found him to be wonderful. His bedside manner is great - I've
never felt rushed - and he is very genuine. I've seen all the
folks in that practice now many times each (I just had a baby
last month), and I like them all, but I definitely prefer him
whenever I make an appointment.
Dr. Sakamoto was the attending doctor for my daughter's
birth at Alta Bates. I had not met him before the labor and
birth but I was very happy that he supported my requests (no
questions asked) for intermittent monitoring, no continuous
IV, no meds, squatting almost to the end of the labor, etc.
when the nurse did not want to initially. She said she saw
very few unmedicated births.
I had planned a homebirth but moved to the hospital since
the baby came early and I had no regrets at all. Dr. S. was
respectful and I and the people who supported me created
an environment where I was in charge.
I highly recommend Dr Sakamoto. My baby is now 11
months. He is sensitive, has excellent bed-side manners.
comes highly recommended by my Ob/Gyn doctor-friend,
and is willing to work with low interventions. When my
husband suddenly left me during the pregnancy, Dr
Sakamoto was very supportive and he helped to make the
birth as low stress as possible (he promised to stay beyond
his shift to help me with a VBAC).
I love him. I cannot tell you the nightmare he pulled me from.
1st time pregnancy, young OB overreacts: forces an early
induction and then announces that she is leaving the practice and
won't be delivering baby. Girard and Sakamoto came in and told me
to go home, wondered what I was there for anyway. 18 days later
Sakamoto was there for the delivery. (of course its really the
nurses that get you TO the delivery, not the OB!!!) Calm, level
headed and warm. He did not perform an episiotomy, though
afterward he discovered a fairly large tear on the inner vulvo
-vaginal wall that needed a bunch of stitches.
4 weeks following delivery, I needed a deep cervical excision.
This he did with precision, and I healed far better than my
previous excision 5 years earlier. I can't say enough good
I am a patient with Berkeley/Orinda Women's Health - Dr. Foley
is my primary OB, but I saw Dr. Sakamoto while she was on
maternity leave. In total, I saw him three times and loved
him. He was kind, listened, extremely friendly, and very
attentive to my needs. I almost wished he was my primary!!!
James Sakamoto wasn't my OB/GYN but I met him several times
during my pregnancy, and when I finally went into labor (several
days late) I was enormously relieved that he was the doctor on
call. I think his bedside manner is fantastic; he's caring,
conscientious, and extremely gentle. (He's also fairly blunt
about not wanting his patients to gain too much weight, which
didn't bother me too much but did annoy some friends of mine. I
don't know if this would be an issue for you.) I love my
regular OB/GYN, but I'd switch to Dr. Sakamoto in a heartbeat.
I think Dr. Sakamoto is a good clinician and is good with typically
sized women. I am overweight saw him only twice, but got two rather
unpleasant lectures about my weight from him, both unasked for and
inappropriate to a nine months pregnant woman who was not his regular
patient. I also was unable to get him to handle a skin infection that I had
because he told me it was caused by my weight and wouldn't go away until
I lost weight.This was both wrong and unhelpful. The other doctors in the
practice were less judge mental, particularly Dr. Honneger who prescribed
something that worked for the skin infection and although she told me at
the beginning of the pregnancy what additional risks I might have as an
overweight mom, asked if I wanted to discuss it further and moved on.
I also recommend Dr. Sakamoto, and I wanted to respond
specifically to his thoughts on intervention. Dr. Sakamoto has
been by ob/gyn for 6 years, through the pregnancy and birth of 2
healthy kids. While he is definitely a medical doctor, I found
him to be very much inclined to let the body of a healthy
pregnant woman do its work without intervention. My first
daughter was breech at 39 weeks -- many doctors would have
scheduled a C-section immediately. Instead, he and Dr. Wharton
attempted an external version, which was successful, and my
daughter was delivered vaginally. I also asked him what he
would have done had my daughter remained breech, and he said
that he still wouldn't have done a c-section, because in his
experience, many breech babies turn in labor. I found this to
be a great attitude. I think in some circumtances (if the baby
is under 8 lbs) he will also deliver a vaginal breech. He also
won't push epidurals or anything.
In my first pregnancy, when I started bleeing at 8 weeks on a
Sunday, he called me back immediately and met me at his office
soon after. I have always found him very responsive.
I like all the doctors ot Berkeley/Orinda and I am very happy
with Dr. Sakamoto.
For what it is worth, although I have not myself had a personal
experience with Dr. Sakamoto, I have been a Doula for about 10
years now, and over that time I have heard nothing but great
things about him. Much more so than about any other OB/GYN in
the area. From the things I have heard, he appears to truly
respect birthing women and the birth process. If I am not
mistaken, he has a low c-section rate too. Good luck to you.
I called to make an appointment with someone in the
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health OB/GYN practice after
reading lots of praise for Drs. Honneker, Girard, and
Sakamoto in the archives, but they've scheduled me
with a "Dr. Foley," who's not mentioned in the archives.
Anybody seen him/her? Praise? Criticism?
I got a recommendation from a friend who is an RN and
delivered her son with Dr. Honegger, to the Berkeley-Orinda
I too was scheduled with Dr. Foley, since Dr. Honegger
is semi-retired. I've been seeing her since October for
pre-natal care and my overall opinion is that she's
Dr. Foley is the newest doctor in the practice and is
quite young, I'd guess she's in her mid-thirties if
that. Her general manner in office visits is what I'd
describe as 'kindly-professional'. She makes good
eye-contact with me when we speak, and listens to my
concerns, answers my questions and is very upfront
about informing me about options in my care.
I'm taking Bradley Method classes with my husband and
once we got halfway through the class sequence, we had
a huge long list of questions to ask her about Alta Bates
and her own policies and philosophies about birth.
I was very pleased to find that in her answers she was
receptive and understanding of our desire to have a
natural childbirth and very supportive of the decision.
She also didn't strike me as being a doctor who is
overly fond of pushing various interventions on a
couple who doesn't want them. Her attitude was very
open and her general policy seems to be that barring
emergency needs, most decisions regarding labor and
childbirth should be discussed between patient and
doctor. If you're expecting and would like more details
about what we talked about, feel free to email me:)
My only complaints about the practice (the Berkeley
office) as a whole, is that like so many other practices,
appointments are scheduled in 15 minute slots, and it's
devilishly difficult to get through to the front desk
to make an appointment. It took me 4 weeks to get
through to a human being at the desk to make my initial
appointment, after leaving voicemail after voicemail
with the receptionist.
Also, while Dr. Foley is very accomodating and willing
to answer my questions, the practice sees a lot of
patients and if my 15 minute slot starts to run over,
she can occasionally seem rushed, especially if she's
in the practice alone on any given day as can happen.
I'm feeling confident however, that we chose the right
doctor for our needs, despite the annoyances of dealing
with the front desk staff and the occasional brusque
Dr. Foley is wonderful. I saw her a few times during
my routine visits to their office for my last pregnancy
and always found her warm and attentive. I had severe
sciatica at the end of my pregnancy and had some
questions about inducing b/c of it. I had a lot of
concerns about induction, and Dr. Foley spoke with me
about it, answering my concerns and questions in a
thoughtful and caring manner, but w/o pushing me
towards or away from induction. I felt like she really
listened to me and gave me the information I needed to
make an informed decision.
Dr. Foley is the newest doctor in the practice. I had
an appointment with her several weeks ago and really
liked her -- she was both knowledgeable and very
friendly/kind (I'm 7 months pregnant so am now seeing
all the doctors in that practice, since any one of them
could deliver my baby). Dr. Honegger, my primary OB,
told me that Dr. Foley was very heavily recruited by
various high-profile practices in SF and the East Bay,
including my former WONDERFUL SF-based practice called
Bayspring. Apparently Dr. Foley turned down Bayspring
to join the Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health group, even
though she lives in SF. All good news for your choice
of doctor and office!
I saw Dr Foley a few times during my recent pregnancy.
I think she is really great. She isn't mentioned in
the archives because she is new to the practice but I
felt she was just as good as the other Dr's in the
practice. She probably took more time with me during
my appointments than any of the other Dr's in the
I am a patient of Dr. Honegger's, but Jill Foley attended
the birth of my son. Dr. Foley was absolutely great, I
really can't say enough about her. She spent hours with
me during my labor and was encouraging and patient with
my very long pushing phase (3 hours), never once mentioning
the possibility of a c-section. When my doula asked her
about episiotomies she replied that she doesn't do them.
y husband claims that her calm demeanor had a hugely
positive effect on his nervousness at facing his first
experience in the labor/delivery room. I too felt so
secure in her competent care. I feel that having her
as my doctor largely contributed to my positive birth
experience, mostly because of her caring, calm and
optimistic attitude. Prior to my birth I had two office
appointments with her and again she was wonderful. She
didn't try to rush me out and answered all my questions,
even though it was obvious by the crowd in the waiting
room that she was very busy. I HIGHLY recommend her.
My husband and I both immediately
liked Dr. Foley the first time we met her. She is very
personable. However, I had a pregnancy that was
threatening to become high-risk (which fortunately it
did not) and I didn't feel comfortable that she had
the experience (or perhaps the attention to detail?)
to follow up. I switched to another practice. In one
instance, I had to remind her that I needed an
important follow-up test for a cvs. Another time, I
called her to have test results passed on to another
doctor, and instead of faxing the results to them, she
left them on my home answering machine which, of
course the other office wouldn't accept. So, I guess
it would depend on whether you need routine care from
her or something more.
I would also stay very on top of any paperwork that
you need to have sent anywhere from that office - I
had a battle every single time I either tried to get
something sent, or tried to get copies myself. One
time, I was told that they would fax something right
away, then told that they needed more information,
then told that they were NEVER allowed to fax medical
information, and that if I wanted it right away would
have to pick it up myself in the Orinda office (where
they keep the records), and this was just one such
instance. In one case, I actually had to get the lab
to send test results because Berkeley Orinda Womens
Health couldn't get their act together!
I just started seeing Dr. Foley for a new pregnancy.
She was recommended to me by my first child's pediatrician
who had seen another Dr. at Berkeley-Orinda Women's
Health for her recent pregnancy and birth. Dr. Foley is
new to the practice, which is probably why you couldn't
find info on her. I have only seen her once, but I feel
very comfortable with her and confident of her skills.
She handled all my questions (I have some concerns about
the pregnancy) with sensitivity and evident knowledge.
I was also very impressed with the efficiency of the
office, without making me feel rushed (but I've only
been to one visit, like I said). Dr. Foley is relatively
young, in her mid-thirties maybe, which I like. I'm not
sure how available the other, more established Dr's are,
but I'd recommend that you give her a try.
I couldn't be happier with the Ob/Gyn practice I belong to: Berkeley-
Orinda Women's Health, and their Berkeley office is accross Alta Bates.
My primary doctor is Marilyn Honegger. She has delivered my first son, 18
months old, and is now responsible for the pre-natal care of my second
child under way. She is one of the most professional, knowledgable,
respectful, caring, and sincere people I have ever met. I have had the
same type of experience with the other doctors -- Dr. Gerard, Dr.
Sakamoto and Dr. Wharton. I moved from Asia 7 months pregnant and was
referred to their practice by a friend. They suggest you meet all the
doctors during pre-natal care since it is the doctor on call who will be
present during labor. As a result, I had a hard time to select my
primary doctor... I find the nurses and staff equaly nurturing and
respectful. Regarding office wait, I find that there is no such thing as
the "on time appointment." Nonetheless, the wait at their office is
fairly short. The longest I've waited is 20 minutes, and if the doctors
are going to be substantially late due to emergencies, the office
notifies you immediatelly. Their number in Berkeley is 510-845-4200 and
Orinda is 925-254-9000. Good luck! Valeria
I go to Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health and see Kurt Wharton, I like the
very much (4 drs. and one nurse practitioner) Of all of the drs. there
is only one that I didn't connect with. I expressed these feelings to
Dr. Wharton before when I was pregnant with my son and was told not too
worry, if that Dr. was on call when I went into labor they would make
arrangements for someone else to handle it. I'm sure that dr. is very
capable, and I know people who like him very much, so I'm not suggesting
that he is an inferior dr - just not right for me. The long and the
short is that it is a very good practice and I'm sure that you will be
able to find a fit that's right for you.
I switched to this practice when my private practice OB-GYN left the area. A
trusted friend recommended I see Dr. Wharton, and he is now my "official"
especially appreciate his respect, warmth, knowledge, and communication
During my second pregnancy in 1998, I was high-risk for a while and got to
know all of the members of the group fairly well. Of course, each has
unique bed-side manner, but I always felt I was in the best of hands. I
Dr. Sakamoto's attention to detail, Dr. Girard's conversation, and Dr.
confidence. Dr. Honegger ended up delivering my son. He came into the world
and Dr. Honegger was wonderfully calm, efficient, reassuring, and performed
necessary episiotomy very well. Also, the nurses and the front-office staff
easy to work with and always helpful. Best of luck.
I had my two chidren with them (the last one 3 month ago)and I am very
appreciative of them. It is a small practice of 4 doctors all nice : a
woman, Dr Honneger, very good, who I saw practicing during the delivery
of a friend of mine, my regular doctor, the oldest of the practice
(early fifties)Dr John Girard soft and gentle but maybe "too cool", Dr
Sakamoto, very professionaland pleasant, and ready to spend time
explaining , and finally, Dr Wharton, the youngest (early forties) who
was twice the one in call when I had my babies, who is apparently quite
bright and well-known, but a little bit too commercial for my taste
(smiles like you are his best friend). In any case, I believe they are
all competent and there is really none of them that I would not
recommend.Then it is a question of personal matter ( Dr Wharton did not
push me to have an epidural, I know that Dr Girard is pro-epidural, and
Dr Honneger was present very early during the non-medicated labor of my
friend and was very supportive the whole time).
You can be sure that you will have one of them for your delivery
because they don't share the "in-calls" with any other practice. They
will also have you meet with each of them so that you will have a chance
to know everybody.
The administrative staff is nice too, but I don't particularly care for
the nurses at their Berkeley office.
Good luck. I am ready to answer any other question that you would want
I am now pregnant with my second son, who is due May 2, and I have
had such mixed experiences with B-O Women's Health that I am looking
for new doctors. Dr. Honegger is great, but she's apparently working
only half-time and I've only seen her once and talked to her one
other time, though we had weird amnio results and had lots of testing.
I also liked Dr. Wharton, though I've only met him once and talked to
him on the phone a few times. I did not care for Dr. Sakamoto, whom I
saw most recently; he was rude and patronizing to me. Since the main
doctor getting raves in the reviews was Dr. Honegger, I am not happy
about having less than a 25% chance of having her deliver my baby.
The practice is also incredibly busy. I've been rescheduled a couple
of times and apparently they lost a lot of the Orinda staff recently,
so when I asked Dr. Sakamoto about test results that should have been
in my file weeks ago, they weren't in there yet. The testing that was
to have been done on my husband was done wrong because they filled out
the form incompletely, and I still haven't heard officially about the
sex of my son (we all saw the penis clearly at the u/s), though I have
called specifically to ask.
On the good side, the two staff at the desk in Berkeley are very nice
even though they are obviously totally stressed, and this is a big
difference from the Matlock/Kanwit practice that delivered my first
My Ob-Gyn is Dr. Wharton at Berkeley-Orinda Womens Health whom I
highly recommend. I was referred to him by my primary care physician Dr.
of Alta Bates Medical Associates whom I have the utmost confidence in. I had
originally hoped to have a female obstetrician but when I first met Dr.
made me feel so comfortable and was so gentle that I felt extremely lucky
him as my Dr. He always allowed time at the end of each exam for me to ask
questions and was never condescending. I was lucky enough to have him
daughter and everything went great. I had told him I didn't want an
does!) and he really seemed to make that a priority. He always put my mind
whenever I had a concern. The other drs in the practice were all very
the exception of Dr. Honneger (I only met her once however), ironic since
she is the
only female and I had originally preferred a female dr. She was rather
she examined me-really pressed hard on my abdomon to determine the position
was in, none of the other drs. did this. But I would have been comfortable
one of them delivering my baby. They were all very confident and apparently
all share the same views so if you get someone other than your main dr.
your baby you wont have to worry about things not going the way you want
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is part of the Alta-Bates Medical Group.
John Girard delivered our daughter. She was seven weeks premature, so it
was a tense situation. They're nice people, easy to talk to, listen well.
They make sure that their OB patients see each of the doctors in the
group, so that when D-Day comes and you get whoever is on call, you are
not treated by a stranger.
i second the recommendation for john girard. he is my doc, and successfully
saw me through 5 pregnacies. he takes time, makes sure questions are
answered, is generally supportive of what your wishes are, and is willing to
listen to his patients. the other docs in the practice are good as well, and
you meet them all in the course of the pregnancy--no surprises at delivery
I can recomend highly Marilyn Honnegger at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health.
However, She is in a group with three men and you may or may not get her
for a delivery. For what it's worth, I found that the men in this group (in
particular Kurt Wharton) to be very kind and helpful (in fact, perhaps a
little more sympathetic than the female OB I had used for pregnancy of my
They take FHP/Take Care and deliver at Alta Bates.
re: ob/gyn. I would highly recommend the practice (also at 2999
Regent) of Dr.'s Sakamoto, Wharton, Girard and Honnegger (female). I
don't know off hand if they are taking new patients but I have been
with them through routine care and almost two full pregnancies and
could not be happier. The number is 845-4200 in Berkeley. They also
have an office in Orinda.
I have a recommendation for a female OB/GYN. Her name is Marilyn Honneger
of the Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health group. Her office has 3 other docs
who are all great. They are in the Huntmont building at 2999 Regent St.
on the 7th floor suite 701. 510-845-4200. As their name implies, they
also have an office in Orinda, and they work out of Alta Bates Hospital.
I've had my two daughters with this group, and I feel very comfortable
with their practice.
I used Marilyn Honegger for my first child's delivery and liked
HER very much; however, I have one caveat for anybody who goes with a
practice like this where you may not get your primary Ob/Gyn for the
delivery. You should make sure you like ALL the doctors you may get.
The doctors in Honegger's practice were all great; however, they had
this arrangement with another practice of three doctors where you might
get one of them for the delivery (about 10% chance, they told me).
(This was two years ago; they may have changed this practice by now.)
Well, it ended up that one of those other three doctors was awful.
And guess who I got stuck with for my delivery! I could go on and on
about how terrible this doctor was and how everything about my delivery
went against my hopes and beliefs and about how I ended up with a
totally unnecessary 4th-degree tear.
If I ever have another child it will be with a doctor or better yet,
a midwife, who promises to be there for the delivery.
I had an extremely difficult pregnancy requiring 17 weeks of bedrest and
several stays at the hospital starting at 20 weeks, and I had Dr. Marilyn
Honegger as my OB so I can say without a doubt that she is exceptional. I
also dealt with Drs. Wharton, Girard and Sakamoto frequently and found all of
them to be wonderful with great bedside manners. I highly recommend this
practice to anyone seeking terrific OB care. They have offices in both
Berkeley and Orinda.
I am very interested in information about how you got PacificCare to pay
for a midwife. I had my first child in 5/95 with Marilyn Honegger in the
Alta Bates Medical Group. I had 2 doulas, Janaki Costello and her
assistant, Anna, at the delivery and it really helped. I had pre-eclampsia
that did not clear up. Honegger discharged me too early, 24 hours after the
birth, and I had to go back into the hospital a couple of days later. I
almost had a stroke. I think that my OB could have kept me in the hospital
longer if she had fought with the insurance company. I am planning for my
second child and would like to use a midwife. Did you use an OB with a
midwife? I would appreciate any information.
Dr. Sakamoto delivered my son 3 years and performed a D&C 1 year ago
after a miscarriage. I really like him and his bedside manner. I
would use him for any of my OB/GYN needs. (I also like Dr. Wharton in
his practice, but have only seen him for prenatal exams.)
this page was last updated: Dec 26, 2011
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