Live in East Bay & delivery baby in SF?

What do people think about living in Oakland but delivering in SF? I have the option to receive care from a practice I'm really excited about with prenatal care locally in Oakland/Berkeley and then delivery at UCSF.

Has anyone else done something similar? Would folks do this? 

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I would not want to be stuck in traffic on a bridge while in labor!

We live in the East Bay (Upper Rockridge / Oakland) and I received all prenatal care and delivered at UCSF Mission Bay. I just delivered our second at UCSF a week ago today! I would not have changed anything about the decision we made to deliver at UCSF Mission Bay. We had two fabulous experiences there. I highly recommend it as a delivery facility. Having the bulk of your prenatal care located in a local clinic you are excited about sounds great. Will be easier from a commuting standpoint of course, especially at the end of the pregnancy when you have more frequent visits. I discovered my preferred OBGyn at UCSF during prenatal care in my first pregnancy, so I made it a point to continue on as a patient at UCSF specifically to see that physician, despite living in Oakland.

You would have to check with UCSF on whether they will prioritize you as a delivering patient if you are not receiving prenatal care there. You may have already looked into this. The labor & delivery facilities at UCSF are fabulous (all private suites with large, spacious rooms and bathrooms, jacuzzi tubs with lights for active labor, peanuts, exercise balls, birthing stools, mirrors... whatever you need) and we have found the nurses and physicians to be professional, kind, and extremely knowledgeable. Sometimes if they are very busy, they will be on "divert" status to send you to a different hospital due to their capacity limitations. So, you may want to have another backup hospital in mind if they are on divert. If you had to be diverted to a different SF hospital, would you still want to deliver in San Francisco? Our plan was to deliver at UCSF Mission Bay and if they were on divert, deliver closer to home at Alta Bates. UCSF will initiate a warm hand-off with whatever hospital you end up at if it comes to that, so you are set and ready to go; in your case, I assume the clinic where you will receive prenatal care would do that hand-off.

Finally, one of the things people brought up to us often re: delivering at UCSF and living in Oakland was our ability to get to the hospital promptly if needed. We never found this was an issue. For my first delivery, we were door-to-door in 19 minutes from our house to L&D triage at 3:00am. For our second delivery last week, we were door-to-door in about 35 minutes from our house to L&D triage at 5:30pm. You will want to be mindful of the fluctuations in traffic but barring a precipitous labor, the transit time should not be too much of an issue as long as you have planned for it.

Good luck and enjoy!

I would probably not make this choice, given the good options in the East Bay, because being stuck in rush hour traffic on the bridge with a baby ready to be born is my worst nightmare. But, if you feel strongly about the practice, plenty of people in this country live an hour+ from the nearest hospital, and they manage ok. 

I would go with UCSF. I live in Oakland and was sent there because of a rare complication,  but I actually switched insurance so I can get all care there going forward. It is excellent, far and away best care I’ve ever gotten. It’s also not that bad a drive if you can avoid commute traffic.

We live in Berkeley and delivered in Walnut Creek. In hindsight, that was risky considering commute traffic. Luckily I went into labor at night. While I think UCSF is great, I wouldn't risk the traffic situation. Contractions in a car are pretty terrible. 

I was only 3 miles away from my birth center for my first kid's birth, and that drive while in labor was BRUTAL. Every turn, every stop sign. Can't imagine the drive being longer than that. For me there would have to be a VERY good reason to go through a longer drive than necessary, like some very specific specialty that they only have at UCSF.

I delivered at UCSF for both my babies. We lived in Oakland for the first and Berkeley for the second. My prenatal care was also at UCSF Mission Bay. It was definitely a trek for all of my appointments, especially towards the end of the 3rd trimester, but I love UCSF and the Mission Bay facilities are outstanding. I was a little nervous about labor, especially with my first, and the uncertainty of timing, traffic, getting to the hospital in time, etc. However, there are so many factors beyond our control and I decided my medical care at UCSF was worth the potentially extra commute/logistical challenges.

My first delivery took hours. My water broke at home and I ended up taking an Uber to the hospital. My husband was working in SF at the time and met me there. My second delivery was much, much faster and I ended up giving birth within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Both birth experiences were great and I would choose UCSF again in a heartbeat. 

I delivered at UCSF while we lived in Oakland. As such a big research hospital, they were able to mobilize a lot of resources for us very quickly when I started to have complications around 36 weeks. I’m not sure any East Bay hospitals could have done quite the same, so I have no regrets about the frequent commutes to SF (I received prenatal care there as well, and then my son was in the NICU after delivery). I’m just grateful for the happy, healthy result and would definitely choose UCSF again.

I did it for both my babies. It was totally fine. The labor was loooong for the first baby so we had plenty of time. I had a shorter labor for my second but we still got to SF in under an hour. It didn't stress me out, although I have seen other posts on this forum where people would never think of doing it. I think it depends what you feel comfortable with. 

I live in Oakland and got referred to UCSF for delivery due to complications, I would absolutely deliver there again. I got excellent care, nice facilities, and they have world class specialists if any issues arise. The drive is really only terrible during morning commute hours. Parking is expensive though. We actually took the ferry from Oakland and then Uber when I was admitted and that worked well (if you have the time).

I lived in SF when my first baby was born at UCSF Mission Bay and had a good experience with the care teams there both for prenatal care and for my (very long) labor and delivery. When we moved to Berkeley I really wanted to stay with the same care team for my second pregnancy so I opted to stay at UCSF and just deal with the commute into the city for prenatal appointments. It really wasn't bad, and was worth it to me to have the guidance of the minimal intervention midwifery practice at UCSF. I was very nervous about the idea of driving from Berkeley to UCSF while in labor, because I remember the relatively short drive from our home in Hayes Valley to Mission Bay being very painful and uncomfortable when I was in labor with baby #1. Our initial plan was to head to my in-laws' house near City College at the first signs of labor, since that would get us a lot closer to UCSF. Laboring at my in-laws' house was definitely not something I wanted to do, but seemed preferable to potentially sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge while in labor. Maybe you know someone in the city who you'd feel comfortable enough asking to do something like this? As the end of my pregnancy got closer we decided to schedule an induction at 39 weeks for a few different reasons, but the traffic and logistical concerns (esp with a toddler who would need to be cared for) were definitely a factor. It worked out well and I don't regret a thing, especially because there were some complications during delivery that could have been a lot more scary if we didn't have one particular midwife and a top-notch care team there with us.

I did have to go to Alta Bates for some NST monitoring towards the end of my pregnancy because of some high BP readings, and I did feel I got excellent care there, but for me personally I'm still glad I was at UCSF for the delivery. 

This is becoming a long reply but I want to mention one more thing... you didn't say why you're considering a different care team for your prenatal care than for your delivery, but at UCSF they always said that the midwife who you see for your prenatal care is not guaranteed to deliver your baby. That was the case for me both times and I didn't mind at all. I had met some of the other providers during my prenatal visits, and everyone at UCSF, especially the incredible nurses, are really wonderful. My midwife did come check on me and the baby a few times after delivery which was really nice. And if you have a great doula or partner you can rely on during labor, they can truly be the most important people in the room for you! Congratulations and good luck with everything!!!

Absolutely! I moved from SF to Oakland at 5 months pregnant with my 1st baby, and kept my OB in the city and delivered at CPMC. I ended up being induced post-dates, so "rushing to the city" never became an issue, but to be honest, it never worried me anyway. Especially if it's your first baby - the odds of a precipitous (super fast) labor are so low. I think the priority should be getting taken care of by the practice and providers you want, and delivering where you want. And of course UCSF is awesome for L&D! Good luck! 

This sounds amazing to me! I delivered at UCSF after transferring care many times (I was very high risk), and would make the decision again a thousand times over. I am really curious about you are partnering with to receive prenatal care on the East Bay! Best of luck navigating the decision.

I did this twice! UCSF is a great hospital to deliver at and I did it because I loved the practice I was getting my care from. If you are worried about getting to the hospital with urgency, generally you might want to talk to your practice about leaving a bit earlier in your labor cycle, but I had very very fast labors and didn't have an issue either time.

I did something similar, although I also received my prenatal care at UCSF. Basically, I worked with UCSF's fertility clinic while I lived in SF, moved to Berkeley, and then ended up going with UCSF for prenatal care as well. Partly because the Mission Bay campus was VERY close to my old office, and I convinced myself that I was going to be at work when I went into labor (this didn't happen).

I don't regret doing this. I really wanted to labor in a tub, and UCSF has this option. It wasn't an issue to get there for me, mostly because I was able to labor at home until after rush hour calmed down. Happy to answer more questions if you have them!

We moved to Oakland when I was 4 mo pregnant and under the care of an OBGYN in SF with delivery at CPMC Van Ness. I didn't want to change providers, and heard much better reviews of the new CPMC facility than Alta Bates, so chose to stay with them. We had a plan B to go to Alta Bates if there was an emergency, or ridiculous bridge traffic. We ended up having to leave for the hospital on a weekday afternoon and frankly cut it a bit close, but it worked out for us. I'd talk with your provider about what emergency options in the East Bay they'd recommend.

Also, I ended up having to do almost twice a week antepartum testing towards the end, which had to be at CPMC Van Ness in case they needed to admit me. Just something to keep in mind that you might need to be prepared to make the trek more often than you think. Again, it worked for me, and planning to do the same for #2. 

I did something like this. We moved from SF to Berkeley when I was 8 months pregnant. I was determined to birth my baby in the SF hospital I'd done my prenatal care with (CPMC Mission Bernal), mostly because it was a brand new hospital at the time. I played out a lot of emergency scenarios in my head (heading into SF in rush hour, getting a police escort, etc.) I ended up being induced on Christmas night, when i was 10 days after my due date. We drove in that night and had the baby in SF with no problems. Like all things associated with birth, it could have gone a billion different ways. I just reassured myself at the time that if the baby came early / suddenly / at rush hour, I would have gone to the nearby Alta Bates hospital to deliver (that's also where I did my fetal monitoring in the last 2 months). Good luck! I hope it goes well for you both!

I live in Oakland and delivered at CMPC California Street so waaaaaaay the heck over there. Getting stuck on the bridge while in labor was my husband's worst nightmare. It was my first kid so I figured we'd have time and wasn't too worried. But then things like the bridge got shut down for 4 or 6 hours for a protest happens and I'm grateful we ended up being a scheduled induction. I delivered my second at the new CMPC in the city but she was a scheduled C-section (since my first ended up coming that way and i just went with it) so again, not an issue. I LOVE my dr so I would do it again but we're done with kids. 

I delivered my first at UCSF while we were living in SF and I loved the experience. I started care for my second at UCSF with the OB who runs the high risk team while living in Berkeley. She’s been at UCSF forever and said she’s never had anyone give birth on the bridge. I ultimately wound up switching to deliver at Alta Bates because I didn’t want to be too far from our first born while I was at the hospital. Even though Alta Bates is a much, much older facility I found the staff to be amazing and really love my experience there too. I had my prenatal care at Sutter Milvia. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer!

I have done this, I was certain about the team I wanted for delivery in Redwood City, but I lived in the East bay and had my obgyn care in the East bay. I just had a backup hospital in the East bay just in case. I have Kaiser insurance so it was easy to go to any Kaiser hospital. I ended up going into labor before midnight so traffic wasn’t an issue. 

That’s awesome you found prenatal care that you are excited about. For me my delivery hospital and team was top priority since I previously had a traumatic 1st birth. I chose to deliver at UCSF even though I live in the EB. I used to live in SF so was familiar with the care there already. Our doula was super helpful in helping us plan for how to labor on the way to the hospital, what to pack, positive affirmations etc. 

I hope you are able to go with the best options you’re comfortable with!