OBGYN (Sutter) vs Midwife (Golden Oak) experience?

Hi all,

We are first time parents to be! We were hoping to hear of people's experiences with OBGYNs (considering Sutter) vs Midwives (considering Golden Oak, and higher out of pocket cost to us).

Both options would involve delivery at Alta Bates.

Our ideal birth would be natural and unmedicated (although we get that things can happen and are open to changes).

Thanks so much in advance! 

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If you are hoping for an unmedicated birth, there is no doubt that midwifery care is the evidence-based superior option for people with no major medical issues. Good luck!

Hi!  I can only give you my experience with Sutter/Alta Bates because I just delivered with them (baby born 4/6).  My OBGYN was Dr. Cohen with OBGYN partners and my whole prenatal experience was wonderful (I had a very easy and normal pregnancy).  The office is organized and professional, the app (MyHealth) is useful, and longer wait times were rare.  My doctor never seemed in a rush and was always very reassuring.  I, too, wanted an unmedicated birth and while that did not happen for me (41 week induction, epidural, vacuum assist) I always knew what my options/choices were and I felt in charge.  I never felt like I wasn't actively participating in my birth experience.  I want to say I did a TON of my own self-education through reading, podcasts, etc. so I felt comfortable advocating for myself and my baby.  The nurses at Alta Bates Berkeley in both Labor & Delivery and Postpartum are all incredibly kind and competent.  There's one nurse in particular who was so reassuring and motivating that I think her encouragement actually prevented me from needing a c-section.  Of course, you'll run into nurses you LOVE and some you feel lukewarm about but all the nurses/doctors are highly skilled.  I hope that helps!

Working with Golden Oak will be the best thing you do! They are amazing. 

I used Sutter for my 1st pregnancy (ended in induction, c-section) and then a midwife for my other two pregnancies. I used Golden Oak for my 3rd kid. Everything about it was night and day from Sutter. Sutter you see a rotation of doctors through pre-natal care and while you are the hospital. I almost always had to wait for my appointments because they were behind schedule. Some doctors were okay and others I didn't like, but you don't get a choice who is there when you deliver. 

Golden Oaks is very personal, you know who will be there, you don't have to wait for appointments to start. They were able to help me with getting the maximum reimbursement from my healthcare possible. I think if you want to try an unmedicated birth than going with a midwife practice is a good option and they are a great practice. 

Hi there!  I had my first baby last June with Golden Oak, and had an absolutely wonderful experience: I felt understood and cared for throughout my pregnancy, and went from being someone who was afraid of childbirth to that annoying lady at the party who won't shut up about her empowering birth.  I think you could have a very positive experience with Golden Oak, Sutter, or any other provider, so long as you trust whatever provider you have and feel safe with them.  One way I do imagine my experience would have been different with an OB, however, is that I went to 42 weeks and Gwen and Ellie had me try inducing with castor oil a few days before my scheduled induction at the hospital.  It worked, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to labor at home and have the calm, intervention-free birth I wanted.  If I was with an OB practice I'm skeptical castor oil would have been suggested to me (not sure about that, of course) and I would have ended up on a pitocin drip and my story could have turned out very differently.  Happy to exchange further private messages if you have any questions! 

Congratulations! We worked with Golden Oak, and they were wonderful, including dealing with several complications and ultimately a c-section. We appreciated their thoughtful approach, having more frequent visits, knowing who would be at the birth, and connecting with their community of families. Feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like to chat more about our experience. 

Hi -  I'm working with Golden Oak and Sutter concurrently until after the anatomy scan and then I'll make the choice about who to go with for birth. GO was supportive of the concurrent care. I'm not set on any type of birth but I was attracted to the community aspect of GO and to know exactly who would be in the delivery room. I like my Sutter OB but I'm thinking that I will want more personal care towards the last few weeks. Not sure I can answer your question since I'm in the exact same spot but I do find it's a lot easier to get in touch with GO than with Sutter.