Kaiser Oakland ObGyns

Parent Q&A

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  • Fear about D&C procedure

    (17 replies)

    Dear community,

    I am having an early pregnancy missed miscarriage (8 weeks) for the second time this year and I was recommended to have a D&C procedure in order to test the baby's tissues. I haven't had a succesful pregnancy yet. This would be my first time going through a D&C (last time I used misoprostol at home) and I am worried about the possible complications: uterine perforation, scars on the uterus, Asherman syndrome, etc. The surgery would be done at Kaiser in Oakland, a hospital that is very new to me (I just switched insurance a few months ago).

    If anyone has experience with D&C, and more specifically in Oakland Kaiser, I would love to hear some feedback about how the procedure went, the recovery time afterwards, if there is a doctor you would recommend for that procedure,...

    Thanks a lot in advance,

    Take care

    I didn't have one at Kaiser but mine went very well. They gave me a benzodiazepine to relax me so I felt a bit loopy but I felt zero pain, it was over quickly, and I had no complications (which are quite rare). I felt back to my normal self later that day and had almost no cramping and just a moderate amount of bleeding a few days later. Much quicker/less painful than passing the tissue at home with miso, comparatively. Sorry to hear you are going through this but I think you'll do great and feel ok!

    Hi --

    I'm so sorry you're going through this for a second time! I had a missed miscarriage (discovered at my 12-week nuchal translucency scan) last June and decided to have a D&C.  I was at UCSF, not Kaiser, but my experience was as positive as it could have been given the circumstances.  My husband and I arrived in the morning (they made an exception to the then-policy of no visitors due to COVID), I spoke with the nurse about the procedure, and was given misoprostol and told I could take a walk, hang out in the courtyard, etc.  They offered me benzodiazepine to reduce anxiety, which I took.  A couple hours later I had the procedure, which took less than 15 minutes.  There was some pain with the administration of topical anesthetic and for me and some intense but very brief discomfort during the procedure itself.  (I had previously given birth, so I don't know if it would have been more painful if I hadn't -- but I don't think my previous pregnancy made a difference to how long the procedure took.)  My biggest recovery issue was waiting for the benzodiazepine to wear off -- I was pretty loopy the rest of the day.  I was told I could go back to physical exercise the day after the procedure if I wanted and although I don't think I *did*, I felt fine - basically zero physical recovery time. The docs I spoke with were very reassuring about the risk of complications, and I didn't have any. I ended up getting pregnant on my first regular cycle following the D&C, had an uneventful pregnancy, and gave birth in May to the healthy kiddo chilling next to me.

    Please feel free to reach out if you have more specific questions or just to commiserate with someone else who has been through the experience.

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I've had 4 miscarriages (at 8, 6, and 6 weeks), 3 of which I chose to do a D&C procedure. All 3 procedures were done with Kaiser Oakland, different practitioners each time, tissues were tested after 2 of them and showed chromosomal abnormalities. I'm really happy we made the decision to test. Although none of the experiences were 'great', I felt that I was treated with compassion and patience each time. There was mild cramping during the procedure, not as bad as I was expecting. Physical recovery afterwards was pretty easy, I felt. I was able to go back to work and resume normal activities within a couple of days. It was the emotional recovery that took longer. I did have some scar tissue build up after the last D&C procedure that was spotted in a hysterosalpingogram prior to starting IVF, but that resolved itself within a few weeks. 

    I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this. I had a D&C in 2017 after a missed miscarriage, also around 8-9 weeks, and had no physical complications or issues. I scheduled it early in the day and was feeling physically well enough to go to a meeting in the late afternoon (with someone from out of town, I wasn't able to reschedule unfortunately - I wouldn't recommend scheduling a meeting on the same day like I did!!). They gave me painkillers to take before and after, and I think I just had to take one more later in the day after the procedure. I was feeling physically fine the next day and I was able to get pregnant again a few months later.

    I tested the tissue with Natera and found that it was a triploidy, with an extra copy of every chromosome, which is more likely to happen by random chance and unlikely to happen again. But it is associated with a molar pregnancy, which has a small chance of leading to other issues, so my doctor recommended regular hCG testing afterward to make sure it goes back down to normal - we never would have known that without the testing. So I would recommend the testing, as it may help you identify why the pregnancy was nonviable or reassure you that it was random bad luck, as it was in our case.

    Hi, I had a D&C at Kaiser Oakland 3 years ago when I was 12 weeks pregnant and I could not have been more impressed with the way they handled the entire process.  From A to Z they were so professional and also very kind.  It's an incredibly stressful, difficult thing to do. My eyes are welling up now just thinking back on it. The recovery was extremely fast. I had to fly out of state the very next morning because of a pre-exising commitment and because the D&C was essentially unplanned. I just took whatever doctor they had available... I don't remember her name. Don't hesitate to use Kaiser Oakland.  They are very, very good health care providers. 

    I had d&c at my OB’s office in alameda kaiser. I got a shot on my butt cheek to numb the pain. Had it done during covid so your experience will likely be a lot different. Recovery went along as long as I took time off from work and practiced self care. Good luck.

    First, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. But you are far from alone. I have had this procedure done on an early miscarriage at Kaiser Oakland twice now. Both times were flawless with very compassionate care providers. I opted out of genetic testing the first time, but not the second, and my advice to you, to the extent that it’s helpful, is to have the testing done. In my case I learned definitively that the issue was an abnormality incompatible with life. (It’s likely you will find the same!) My experience was that was actually very relieving for me, to know that there was nothing I could’ve done. In retrospect, I should have done the genetic testing the first time as well. It also meant, that when I was successfully pregnant later, I had more confidence that the baby was going to be healthy and okay once we’d moved out of that early phase. 

    The procedure is quick, not too uncomfortable, and recovery (for me) was fast. Much faster than the medicine route. And no one minded my tears! Best of luck to you!
     

    I'm sorry about your loss.  I can't speak about Kaiser specifically, but can comment about experiences with D&C.  First, although there are some risks, it should be noted that it is an extremely common procedure (used for early miscarriage which is quite common, placenta left inside after childbirth, and exactly the same set of clinical steps as a first trimester abortion) so many obgyns will be extremely experienced.  A few hours before the procedure, the doctor will typically ask you to take oral medication, IIRC a muscle relaxer and an opiate (the latter I didn't do because only the procedure itself hurts, and it is short).  They ask that you have someone to drive you to/from the procedure.  The D&C itself takes a few minutes (maybe faster, but it feels longer), and is very painful.  Afterwards, they will give you time to sit until you are ready to leave.  It helps to put a heat pad over the belly during that time, which they can provide, but you might need to ask for.   Beyond this, there might be a little bit of spotting, but not pain.  So in my experience, the physical recovery time is only a few minutes, not including the time for the oral medication to wear off.

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I had a D&C due to a non-viable pregnancy at 13 weeks about 4 years ago, although I lived in Boston at the time. My procedure took place at an outpatient women's health clinic. It was an emotionally difficult experience to say the least, but physically it was relatively easy. You have to rest for a few days and generally take it easy for about 4 weeks if I remember correctly. No swimming. I actually had to take a cross-country flight 3 days after my procedure and it was not a problem. I now have two healthy children after two uneventful pregnancies. This is just my experience, of course, but I wanted to share in case it helps ease your mind. Sending you love and light. <3

    I had a D&C after miscarriage at CPMC with dr Laurie Green who is top notch and probably delivered more babies in her career than anyone else. She was my obgyn when I lived in SF but worth commuting for in my opinion if you live east bay. I’ve had two babies since the D&C and no complications or pain. Good luck!!

    Hello,

    I am so sorry to hear about your lost pregnancies. As for the D&C, the chances of any complications are very low. I am both a woman who has had one and a medical record coder for Kaiser. There is very little chance that anything will go wrong. When I had one the only reaction I had was nearly fainting when I saw the needle for the IV going into my hand. The doctors at Kaiser Oakland are very experienced and the procedure itself is relatively simple. The d is the dilation of your cervix so that they can do the curettage (which is usually evacuation done with a vacuum these days). Dr. Goldsmith, Dr. Mehta, and several others are all good. If anything I would just say make it clear that you don't want a Resident if it makes you nervous. 

    Also I remember my recovery time being relatively short, a week or less, and only minor cramping for a day or two. I really do think you will be fine. Best wishes and good health to you.

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I had the procedure for the exact same reason in Jan 2020 at Kaiser Oakland. I’m a doctor myself and felt I got wonderful care, and it was also comforting to have the information from the tissue testing, which confirmed it was random chance due to a trisomy (eg most common cause of early miscarriage). I went on to have a successful pregnancy. 
    In my case it was a hand vacuum procedure, which is the same as is used for an elective early pregnancy termination (abortion). The risk of complications you mention is extremely low, and I spent the afternoon on the couch with fairly minimal cramping (though it is a blur because you’ll receive Ativan before the procedure). The procedure itself took about half an hour in the office. 
    Meredith Warden supervised a resident doing my procedure, and they were both excellent. She is fellowship trained in family planning/abortion and clearly was very knowledgeable. 
    You should know you’ll check in at one of the general Ob/GYN clinics, which means there might be pregnant people in the waiting room. At the same time, you are not singled out in any way why you are there so it can add to a feeling of privacy, if that is helpful to know. You’re welcome to message me directly if I can help with anything else, and sending best wishes to you and your family. 

    I'm so sorry for your loss! I ended up having three recurrent miscarriages before having a healthy boy and am now pregnant with #2 (and had one early loss before this pregnancy as well). One of my losses was a missed miscarriage and i had a D&C at Kaiser (but not Kaiser Oakland). for my D&C, a friend who had had one had recommended doing it without the heavier pain med they give you beforehand. that otherwise you are totally out of it the rest of the day. so i skipped that pain med and i will say it was painful but bearable and didn't last that long (i dont know that i recommend that option as i dont know what the w med option is like). the doc i had had terrible bedside banner and said something like how there was a lot of tissue in there that she needed to remove. after it was over, i really didn't feel much physical pain just emotional pain but went to work the next day and was fine (to me it felt easier to keep busy than sit at home and wallow but thats probably a personal decision). Its true there are risks as you named, but i think they are all quite small. In addition to testing the fetal tissue, i would advocate for the full bloodwork workup they do for recurrent miscarriages. As for Kaiser Oakland, that is where i now go and it seems like their docs are all super busy and you may just want to go with who has availability so you don't have to leave this pregnancy hanging over you. I hope you get some answers and have a healthy pregnancy in the near future! It totally sucks, but is surprisingly common and I've been amazed once i started sharing my experience how many other people i know have had similar challenges.

    I'm really sorry you're experiencing that. That is really hard. Misoprostol didn't work for me so I ended up having a D&C and it was quick and easy. I actually had a dr I never met perform it because the ultrasound tech told me there was some of the pill left in my uterus and I could start contracting again at any time. (And THAT experience was actually one of the worse experiences of my life, would never repeat that.) I didn't have any complications and went on to have a successful pregnancy a few months later. (The miscarried pregnancy had taken us 8 months and the successful pregnancy afterward was about 4 months later. We now have a second, who was via IVF, but it doesn't have anything to do with the D&C. I had a lot of scans etc when trying for the second and there isn't anything wrong with the insides of my uterus.) This wasn't at Kaiser, sorry, but wanted to share my experience anyhow. 

    First, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I had my own missed miscarriage at 8 weeks back in June. I went through two D&Cs and a round of misoprostol in between before it was complete. In my experience the misoprostol was the hardest, physically. The D&C involves some serious cramping and discomfort but it’s over in 15 min or so. I too was worried by the risks involved, but (fortunately/unfortunately) it’s seems like a very routine procedure so the risk is small. After the first one I think I was a little crampy for a day or two afterwards—not a bad recovery at all. The second one was a quick one just to get a tiny bit of leftover tissue and recovery was even easier, I was fine the next day.

    Hello, I am so SO sorry for your loss. Even though miscarriage is common, it is so painful and heartbreaking and especially so when you haven’t had a successful pregnancy. I had a very bad experience with a D&C after missed miscarriage of my first pregnancy at Kaiser Oakland with a woman I believe was named Dr. Appleton or Apple something in 2010. They told me the risk of D&C was very low, and I was a wreck so just agreed to what they recommended. The procedure was very painful and then I stopped having normal periods. After a year of various doctors telling me I just should just “relax” and I would get pregnant, I finally demanded testing and learned that my uterus was completely full of scar tissue- severe Ashermans. They told me I would never carry a child because the damage was too severe. It was devastating. After reading every medical journal article on this issue I could find and fighting with Kaiser for my medical records I was able to switch insurance and get another opinion and treat the Ashermans elsewhere, but the health impacts of that D&C made both of my later successful pregnancies extremely high risk and both kids were delivered early via emergency c sections. I still have health impacts now, more than 10 years later as well. I do not mean to scare you but I wish more people talked about these things openly because there are risks. If you can handle just waiting it out, I would try to do that-  I know it’s very hard. Or if you do a D&C, please ask them to use a hysteroscope for guidance so they can see what they are doing and not damage your body. While D&Cs are generally very low risk, your uterine lining is uniquely vulnerable to damage with a missed miscarriage so special care is important. I am so sorry for what you are going through and wish you well. 

    Thank you so much to everyone from the community for getting back to me. 

    It really helps to feel that we are not alone in those difficult times. 

    I ended up going for the D&C and it went well. The staff was very compassionate and nice. It was much less traumatising than taking the medication misoprostol by myself at home. Hopefully, I will recover well without any complications.

    Thanks again and wishing you all the best,

    Take care,

  • I am looking for OBGYN recommendations at Kaiser Oakland. I received most of my prenatal care for my first child at Kaiser Mission Bay in SF but will be receiving prenatal care for my current pregnancy in Oakland. I have a history of recurrent miscarriage and like a doctor that is willing to offer slightly more frequent visits as reassurance. I also like a doc who is willing to explain pros and cons of different medical recommendations and relevant research. Finally, I ended up with a c-section for my first birth and think I am a good candidate for VBAC and would like a doc that will be supportive of pursuing this option if feasible. Thanks in advance! 

    I highly recommend Erica Canales at the Oakland KP campus. I saw her throughout my first pregnancy and she was wonderful. She was always took the time to listen, was super empathetic/sweet, and was never judgmental (surprisingly my original OBGYN was pretty judgmental). I asked a lot of questions especially since I became pregnant right as COVID started happening and she always took the time to listen patiently. She also remembered me and would ask questions my life during my visits (e.g. how my job was, how my partner was doing). Maybe she wrote these details down in her notes to remember, but it showed me that she made an effort to get to know her patients. Really can’t recommend her enough

    I would like to recommend Dr. Medha Donde at Kaiser Oakland. I never felt rushed with my questions with her through my two pregnancies resulting in live births and a missed miscarriage that was drawn out and difficult. She was very warm, but also very matter of fact about pros and cons and risks of prenatal tests and outcomes. My first was a c-section, and she was supportive of my (successful!) VBAC choice with my second. Good luck!

    After years of infertility struggles and miscarriages, I really liked working with Dr Erica Breneman. She’s moving to Kaiser’s new Berkeley location.  I also had good experiences with Dr. Simone Katz.

    delivering at Kaiser Oakland was a wonderful experience for us.

    good luck! 

    I'm seeing Dr. Erica Canales right now for my second pregnancy (37 weeks). I can't speak to her experience with your specific questions, but I also have found her to be very empathetic and thorough.

    Dr. Meredith Warden has been great. Extremely sensitive, a good listener, quick responder to online messages and she never makes you feel rushed in/out of the office.

  • Kaiser ob/gyn for perimenopause

    (1 reply)

    Hi wise BPN community - 

    Wondering if anyone can recommend a female Kaiser ob/gyn in either Oakland or Walnut Creek who is expert in issues related to perimenopause. My wonderful MD retired recently and I'm having a hard time finding someone who seems invested enough in the issues I'm having to give me the guidance and advice that I need. 
    Thank you!

    I recently saw Dr. Erica Simon to ask about that and get a script for OCs, essentially for HRT.  I chose her after reading  https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/providers/ericasimon  I'd recommend her with the caveat that Kaiser charged me for the appt even though I made it as a family planning visit (100% covered under the Affordable Care Act). When I contacted Dr. Simon thru the KP portal to inquire she kindly supported my request for review to reverse the charge.  If you're concerned about billing, be aware of both how you describe the purpose of your appt and how she codes it. 

  • Kaiser Oakland Gyn

    (10 replies)

    Hi,

    I'm looking for advice on Kaiser Oakland gynecologists, because I don't really connect with my current one and have had some recent test results indicating a "pre-cancerous" condition. I'd really like to be with someone I can talk to easily. Rightly or wrongly I'm assuming clinical competence so am looking for docs with good people skills. Please share if you like yours. Thanking you in advance.

    I see there are quite a few recommendations already for Kaiser Oakland gyns on BPN including the one I am going to recommend but I'll just go ahead and say I like my MD Lisa Sherman. What I like about her might not be what you would like. She is over 40, has a dry sense of humor, and is direct and informative.  Every question I have asked her, she has a variety of options at the ready. There is nothing this woman does not know. I am not sure how you would like her if you are looking for a sensitive hand-holder but for me she is perfect.

    Laura Minikel has been my OB/Gyn for, wow, 24 years now. For me, it has only been general care and one pregnancy (and delivery, since by chance she was on rotation when I had my daughter), but she is terrific. I have no idea if she has openings for new patients--at Kaiser that often has to be your starting point. What I've found works well for screening the list of docs with openings is to talk to the nurses. They will speak effusively about the docs they love, give a measured evaluation of the ones they like, and say nothing at all (which speaks volumes) about the ones they don't like.

    I see Dr Karen Jessica Sumner! (Oakland Kaiser)

    she is AWESOME!!! Great bedside manner and very compassionate. I had suffered a miscarriage and I was very touched by her kindness and support during that time.

    I wish you all the best for your healing journey!

    I've loved both Caryn Rybczynski and Eve Zaritsky, though I checked and Eve is not currently accepting new patients. Caryn is and she's terrific, an excellent listener and extremely competent practitioner. Both at Kaiser Oakland. Best of luck to you. 

    I really enjoyed Dr. Simone Katz. She delivered our baby and is my regular ob/gun as well! I know she is popular but if you can get in, it’s worth it!

    Vanessa Kaleb is AMAZING! She is extremely personable, knowledgeable, and I always feel like I have her full attention. I ran into her outside of Kaiser once and she remembered my name, gave me a hug, and asked about my son. She’s the best...I’ve probably seen 10 different gyns at Kaiser over the years.

    I really like Dr Lisa Sherman. Very friendly and easy to talk to!

    I was treated for cervical cancer at Kaiser last year. My regular gynecologist, Erica Breneman, was great through the process. I also had one appointment with Rosanne Botha and liked her very much. The test results that showed I had cancer happened to arrive when my regular doctor was away, so Dr. Botha had to give me that news having never met me before. I felt very comfortable talking to her at that very difficult time.

    I love Cooksey!  

    Another poster recommended Vanessa Kaleb. After three appts. and really wanting to like her her (I was pregnant after a miscarriage and seeking someone great after my previous doc retired ), I realized I wasn’t being overly sensitive to her rude remarks. I found her to be super condescending and dismissive of my concerns.  I can give specific examples if interested.  The interactions are burned into my brain, unfortunately.  :(

    Just want to thank everyone for the very generous, thoughtful replies!

  • does anyone have a recommendation for a fabulous obgyn? And primary care doctor?  I’ve had a hard go of doctors in my life to the point I was very sick for many years (decades!)before a doctor came along and tested/diagnosed and began treatment. I’m looking for a doctor who doesn’t hesitate on giving refurals to specialist and ordering labs. I’ve heard of some kaiser doctor who even prescribes herbs and acupuncture. Smart, eager, kind, loving and personable. I know it’s a tall order but I’m trying to do my part this time in getting a good doctor and ANY recommendations are MUCH appreciated!!

    thank you!!

    [Moderator note] There are quite a few reviews of Kaiser Oakland Ob/Gyns on this page: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/medical/Kaiser/obgyn-oak

    Amy Huibonhoa. She was my OB/GYN, and I was so sad when she went to Kaiser. She was amazing, very personable and incredibly smart. I haven't quite found someone in private practice that I like as well.

    https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/provider/amyhuibonhoa

  • Hi BPN Fam,

    I am in early pregnancy with my first and am also new to Kaiser Oakland. I was wondering if you all had recommendations for OBs at Kaiser Oakland who respect, or even encourage, more holistic approaches to prenatal care and birth, for example minimal ultrasounds (if any), avoiding pharmaceutical medications (not forcing them and being open to more natural/herbal approaches), water birthing and pain relief that also doesn't involve drugs, etc. I do not want to feel pressured or made to feel I am doing harm to my baby if I don't want to get a flu shot, for example (I've heard terrible stories from multiple friends/family members what have experienced this - I've never had a flu shot in my life, nor has anyone else in my family including my parents, and we are just fine - so I would rather not be made to feel like I'm endangering my child or am a bad mom if I don't/my mom is a great mom and made these same choices).

    I am also interested in learning more about midwives if there are any recommendations and am considering the Centering Pregnancy program, which is a group program between the OBGYN and Family Medicine departments. Has anyone done this? I think I will probably go this route, but either way, I need to choose an OB asap regardless for my 1st check up and would like for it to be someone I can stick with in all cases for obgyn needs. Welcoming any and all recommendations for OBs at Kaiser Oakland who have a more holistic approach and are also culturally/socially conscious/competent and respectful (toward POC/immigrants/low-income). MANY THANKS!!

    I'm not sure what you've heard, but most of the stuff you're talking about is pretty standard with all OBs and midwives in the area. Unless you have a high risk pregnancy, you really only are eligible to have 1-4 ultrasounds (dating scan to confirm pregnancy is viable, NT [definitely optional], anatomy scan [could also be optional], position check at 36w [could also be optional]). It's not typical to prescribe any medication if you're not having any problems, and everything from the flu shot to getting an updated TDAP to cervical checks is always optional. I believe Kaiser Oakland has options for water birth as well as med-free births. This is all pretty common around here, and you'll likely be fine with whomever you end up with (I don't think you can choose who will do your delivery with Kaiser).

    I can only speak to the Centering Pregnancy option...and this is just my own experience.

    I wasn't sure about it and we went to the first two sessions and ultimately decided it wasn't for us. This was simply because we have a lot of outside resources (a doula, a prenatal psychotherapist, I have been reading books since early on, hypnobirthing classes, etc.) and it felt like a lot of time to invest to be learning the same things we already knew. What we were hoping for was to connect with other new parents and maybe form relationships outside of the group but the particular group we were in didn't seem interested in community building (though maybe we jumped shipped too soon). I would say try it and thankfully they give you the option of going back to your previous OB/Gyn. When you do the CP program the two doctors who run it (and you don't get to choose I don't think) become your OB/Gyn for your pregnancy and the group meetings take the place of your other checkups so that's something for you consider. 

    Hope this was helpful. Happy to answer other questions if you have them. 

    Hi, I don’t have recommendations for Oakland but if you are looking for a  more holistic approach you may prefer a midwife. If you don’t mind travelling a little further out, Walnut Creek has midwives who are great. I delivered there and had epidural free birth, but did use nitrous which was a great alternate to help take the edge off and avoid epidural. As for flu shot, everything is optional  and you can advocate for yourself and let your provider where you stand/prefer and they will respect that.  I only had one ultrasound at 20 weeks through Kaiser, which i believe was standard. 

    Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

    M

    Dr. Kristen Miranda is wonderful, and she runs a centering group. https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/provider/kristenmiranda

    I'm with Kaiser Oakland, with Dr. Sarah Wilson as my OB. She is fantastic and I highly recommend her. I also did the prenatal group program during my pregnancy (my son is now 1 year old), which I believe has evolved into the "Centering Pregnancy" program as you've described, and I would highly recommend that as well. We ended up choosing one of the Family Medicine doctors who led our group as our son's pediatrician. We still keep in touch with the other couples who were in our same group, and have become good friends with one couple and their baby in particular.

    I can't speak to the "holistic" approach as you've described, but I will say that Kaiser did very few ultrasounds during my pregnancy. I think I may have gotten one per trimester. Otherwise, they just used a doppler to listen to the baby's heartbeat at the checkups. 

    As for a water birth, I doubt that the Kaiser Oakland hospital facility could support that. Another couple in our Kaiser prenatal group did a home birth with a water birth, however. Kaiser Oakland hospital has all the drugs, including nitrous oxide, for pain relief during labor, but I've heard of plenty of women who did not opt to use any when giving birth at Kaiser. The Labor & Delivery rooms at Kaiser Oakland are spacious (so there's lots of room to walk around, use a yoga ball, etc.), and they come with a shower. Kaiser Oakland L&D is also run by midwives - a midwife on duty supervises the OB residents, who take care of the laboring mothers. All the residents that we interacted with during our stay were excellent.

    Also, my understanding is that you can also opt to give birth at Kaiser Walnut Creek, where it's all midwives (no OB residents). 

    I had my "baby" several years ago so my info might not be current on most of your points, but I want to note that I had never had a flu shot in my life either. When my daughter was about 1.5 years old, I brought home the flu and gave it to her. It was so incredibly scary to see her so sick for so long. Really, this was the type of flu from which some people die. Ever since we have gotten flu shots and have never gotten the flu at all.

    My son is 10 months old and I gave birth at Kaiser Oakland, after being cared for by two Kaiser OBs during pregnancy (one transferred to SF halfway through my pregnancy). With the exception of a waterbirth, which is not available at Kaiser Oakland, everything else you're describing is available and will be respected. I also wanted to have a more natural pregnancy and birth experience and had no issues with this. Just keep in mind that they have a lot of patients who have all kinds of ideas about what they want out of pregnancy and delivery, so you need to be vocal and clear about your desires. But once you are, those desires will be respected. I made it very clear to my OB before labor and to everyone on staff once I got to the hospital that I did not want an epidural, and no one ever mentioned it to me again, despite my 36-hour painful labor. At Kaiser your OB will not be the doctor delivering your baby (unless by coincidence!), and you will not get to choose the staff who delivers your baby, which in my experience were the more important players! However, there is a midwife who oversees and attends every birth at Kaiser Oakland -- while you will have minimal contact with her (it's really mostly the nurses that take care of you during labor), she is there and available if needed (and she's there as labor gets more intense and during the actual delivery). In my experience Kaiser is pretty up-to-date on progressive and holistic ideas about pregnancy and childbirth, and their policies are very respectful of different choices. Because you won't necessarily have consistency of care between your pregnancy and delivery, it's up to you to be clear about what kind of birthing experience you want to have -- you can't expect them to know that going in -- but they will respect whatever choices you make. And Kaiser has and encourages you to use whatever drugs or non-drug forms of pain relief you can think of (other than water birth :( ) 

    Good luck!

    This is a bit tangential, and while I'm glad someone on this list had a positive experience with Sarah Wilson, my experience with her when she was at UCSF was not positive. Happy to provide the original poster with more details (feel free to email me on BPN), but I would not recommend Sarah Wilson for any patient-centric care. I was planning a home birth, but we discovered my child was a breech baby, whom I tried to deliver as a vaginal-breech delivery (with UCSF's support and encouragement) but ended up with a c-section. Sarah Wilson's interactions with me were minimal and she never checked on me or interacted with me again after the c-section was done. Our conversation was limited to about 8 sentences, most of which I remember verbatim. I am a medical anthropologist, so I have some insights into medical care and institutions. I realize you don't have a choice about who delivers your child, but at the very least, I would advise against her for any "care" as you go through this important life process. 

    If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend non-hospital-based midwives, either those at the birthing centers or ones who can support you in a home birth. At the very least, I highly encourage you to find a doula to support you in the hospital, should you decide to use a hospital. It's very easy in the throes of labor to be pressured into unnecessary interventions, even if you feel prepared to anticipate the kinds of things that may come up during your birth process.

  • Kaiser OB - Oakland

    (9 replies)

    I've been thinking about switching to another Kaiser OB for pregnancy support, but quite a few doctors aren't taking on new patients right now. Dr. Simone Katz has openings - I wonder if anyone has experience with her? And if you have thoughts about switching, or any insight into this phenomenon of doctors being too busy to take on new patients, I'm all ears. 

    I haven’t met Dr Katz but I had some difficulties at the beginning of my pregnancy and I couldn’t get in to see my regular OB. In the end, I saw three different doctors and I switched to third, Dr. Schechter. You’d have to be comfortable having a male OBGYN, but he is one of the best doctors I’ve ever had in any specialty. Kind, funny, reassuring, up-to-date on the newest research, and incredibly empathetic. He was wonderful throughout the ups and downs of the entire pregnancy.

    Dr. Katz is rad. I just started prenatal with her for my second pregnancy. Highly recommend. 

    SallyMae - you actually *can* get in to see anyone, even if they aren't taking new patients.  And once they've seen you, you are on their patient list and you can book future appts with that person seamlessly and you'll see them listed as a member of your care team.  You just can't choose them upfront in the Find a Doctor tool.   This is how you do it:

    1.  Work the system" through www.kp.org.   Set up an account with your member ID if you don't already have one. 

    2.  Login.  Choose appts.   Choose that you want to be seen for a women's health service, and that you aren't pregnant (yet!).   

    3.  Then you can choose a date range.   You can scroll through the options until you finally find an appt with the doctor you find the best.   

    I had to go 2 months out find a first appt with my OB/GYN (at a crummy time like 10am on a Wednesday too!), but once I saw her, I became her patient, and it was no issue to continue seeing her.  Having had an unexpectedly complicated pregnancy, I am *so* glad I spent a couple months getting set up with a provider I loved, so when I became pregnant, I had that provider in my court.   Hope this helps you get in with the provider you really want, and that doing so gives you peace of mind throughout pregnancy when you reach that season!

    Hi, I'm not certain she's taking on new patients, but I highly recommend Dr. Miranda as a Kaiser OB. I started seeing her with my first pregnancy in 2015-16, and I credit her with saving my daughter's life when I developed a condition that called for early induction. I'm now 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and have appreciated Dr. Miranda's care throughout this pregnancy as well. Sorry that I don't have any feedback on Dr. Katz, but thought I'd pass along this info on Dr. Miranda in case it's helpful. 

    Best of luck!

    I recently switched to Dr. Katz after my long time OB left Kaiser Oakland. I have had two visits with her so far (not related to pregnancy though) and she is very warm, easy to talk to, knowledgeable and thorough. I would highly recommend her. 

    I just signed up with her, but I needed non-pregnancy support.  I had a good impression of her at my first check up. I figured that I would be able to tell more by meeting her in person and see if I felt a rapport and if she was a good listener, etc.

    Dr. Katz was my gyn (*was* because I switched due to negative experiences). I wasn't pregnant, so no specific experience with that. However, I would absolutely not recommended her. She did not listen to my concerns (when 1 of my 2 primary concerns is infertility, birth control is NOT the appropriate treatment for my other concern. And I shouldn't have to repeat that a dozen times). I needed a referral to a specialist, it took 2 appointments and me insisting before she would consider the referral and any treatment other than birth control. When I finally got the referral, she scheduled it as a phone appointment rather than in person, though she told me I'd need an exam so seemed aware I'd need to be there in person. I then had to spend most of a day on the phone trying to navigate the kaiser departments to get it changed to the right kind of appointment. When I finally got that appointment, the first thing the Dr said was "you're in the wrong place" and "I'm not going to be able to help you". Thankfully that specialist got me referred to the right clinic that Dr Katz should have referred me to possibly months earlier. So unless you want birth control, I'd keep looking.

    If Vanessa Kaleb is available, she’s AMAZING! Good luck!

    As a Kaiser physician, I would caution you in using Kate85’s methods. Yes, while you might be able to get into see any doctor that way, s/he may not be able to continue to see you for any number of reasons (sometimes our panels are truly closed and it’s beyond our control) and the availability of someone with an open panel is going to be much better. 

  • Hi there! I'm expecting baby #1 in late-May 2017 and curious to hear if anyone has an OB GYN they really enjoyed working with recently at Kaiser Oakland. Right now, I'm paired with Dr. Medha Donde, who I've not met yet. Looking to work with someone who's sensitive, compassionate, encouraging of natural birth and low-intervention. Also, if there are any midwives at Kaiser Oakland who really shine, would love to hear about that, as well. Many thanks!

    Her panel is never open, but I have loved Dr. Jung for many years. She was great when I had a miscarriage, and she was great when I had two babies.

    That said, they ALL are encouraging of natural birth and low intervention in theory, it is the preferred Kaiser model. Your OB/GYN will not be in attendance at your birth in any case, unless it's a scheduled C-section. They will come by the next day on rounds and you get to show off your adorable baby.

    Have a nice pregnancy!

    Dr. Donde is the best doctor I’ve ever had - I’ve had two babies with her and could sing her praises for days. In fact, I’m sad I’m done having kids because now I won’t see her very often! She’s very supportive of your choices, extremely competent, and friendly. She responds quickly via email. I’d recommend you stick with her. Good luck and congrats!

  • Hi, I'm newly pregnant after an extensive battle with infertility (four years, many,many heart breaks, many, many $$). After finally finding a miracle of an RE who treated us respectfully, like knowledgeable adults (Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh if anyone knows anyone who is looking), I find myself struggling with Kaiser Oakland's OB department. I'm new to Kaiser overall since last open enrollment so I've barely used them at all. I had my OB intake with a nurse last week and have emailed with her since and she has been so completely unhelpful and rude. Can I request to work with a different nurse? Is this something I should bring up with the doctor (whom I will meet at my first ultrasound)?

    Related, I've been told I will need to work with a perinatologist as well as an OB. What should I be looking for in each?

    Thank you! I feel like I fell through some trap door where I now know nothing. 

    I can't speak to the process of emailing with a nurse or working with a perinatologist, but I'm with Kaiser Oakland, just had a baby, and wanted to recommend my OB - Dr. Sarah Wilson. I think she's really, really great. I can't speak to her background with infertility, but I think she's a fantastic doctor. Also, if you're planning to deliver at the Kaiser Oakland hospital, we had a great experience with that as well. They put as much focus on me as the patient as they did on our baby, which (from what I've gathered in recent news stories about maternal care in the United States) might not always be the norm. 

    You can totally request another nurse. Call member services at 800-464-4000. You can also make a complaint when you call to let them know how you were treated. You don't have to deal with that nurse. 

    I go to Kaiser Richmond but regardless, you do NOT have to work with someone who is rude or disrespectful.    You should ABSOLUTELY bring this up with your doc at your first visit.  You may be getting a survey or two after your first visits with different docs so you should respond to it then.   I would ask your doc how to let someone higher up know about that intake nurse.   Good that there's a trail of emails.  Personally, I would make hard copies and find out who to write to in that department so you can give them that information.    You can also email your doctor right now and ask for a different intake nurse in the future.     I cannot recommend any specific doctors there but I've had great experiences at Richmond and have easily switched doctors when necessary but that took a little more effort on my part.   We joined Kaiser when my son was 5 and I wish we had been going since he was an infant---pediatrics is fantastic.   AND having advice nurses available 24/7 is a god-send with a little one, believe me!    I also don't know about birthing in terms of midwives or the like but others on this list-serve can advise you.   So sorry you've had this experience!!!!!  

    Hi, the good thing about Kaiser that you can go to another doctor or nurse any time, even on weekends (I think on Saturdays for children if urgent!).   Just call, ask who's available, and ask to make an appointment with them (I sometimes ask the advice nurse who makes appointments if she's familiar with any of the doctors and can recommend one "unofficially").  And, if you like one, you can request to be assigned to him/her, and most of the time that works out, as long as their panel is open (sometimes they have enough patients already and can't take new ones, but even those have appointments available - you just won't be able to be "assigned" to them).

    I LOVED Dr. Walton, who can only follow you through your pregnancy, and typically follows only complicated pregnancies (e.g., multiple births, advanced maternal age, previous miscarriages, etc).  He's the kindest and most professional and knowledgeable OB I've ever met.  I may have told this on BPN already, but he ran after me into the street when I already left to tell me there was a sooner appointment I really needed (long story, but trust me I REALLY needed that appointment!).  So, when I had my second baby, I requested him to do my amnio when I found out he was one of the doctors who performed it.  And then, during the procedure, I asked him if he wouldn't mind having me as "his" patient, and he agreed.  So you can do the same - have him or another doc do a procedure or an appointment, see if you like them and talk to them about switching to them.

    Good luck!  I'm sure you'll find someone you like!

    Congratulations! What a wonderful joy after so much loss! Both our children were born @ Kaiser and I wish you the wonderful experience we had there. I'm sorry you've met someone that is not a good fit for you - the truth is that you will have a series of people, all kinds of them, as you navigate this process. Most are great, some are not. My experience, even with my own GP is that face to face is the best time for questions if you can, email can be hit and miss as most of the medical staff seems to have a huge workload and not a ton of time. You are always free to ask for someone different if you are not comfortable, at least for doctors, for nurses I have no idea, though I haven't heard of seeing the same one every time. If you can, I would wait until you are assigned an OB and direct your questions to them. Your OB won't be the one delivering your baby, so it's good not to get too attached, but make sure that you like them and feel heard by them. As for L&D the staff is all great, we had the BEST nurses both times. No advice on perinatologists as we did not need one. Wishing the best for you!!

    First, congratulations! I hope your pregnancy goes smoothly from here on out!

    I had two children via Kaiser Oakland. You can choose your own OB, and I think the nurse you work with is assigned to your OB. You will be assigned an OB, but you can switch to a different primary one (thereby switching nurses). And, you can make any appointment with any OB, assuming the OB has an opening. For example, my OB was largely unavailable during my second pregnancy (she was teaching), so I chose to see someone else consistently instead (for consistency). You can research each doctor's profile online and choose from there.

    Also know that is it is highly, highly unlikely that your OB will deliver your baby. It will be whoever is on duty when you're in labor. In fact, that person can change during your delivery, since labor & delivery can span more than one shift. So, you'll have whichever OB is on duty and a gaggle of residents. I must highlight that I didn't care about the doctor. The nurses that helped me through each delivery were amazing, tender, encouraging coaches and did all of the work. One even played block and tackle with the on-duty OB what was gangbusters to do a C, when the nurse and I knew a C wasn't necessary. The baby just needed more time to come the old fashioned way. The nurses in labor & delivery are different from the nurses in the clinic.

    So, I recommend going to Kaiser Oakland's site and researching OBs that are accepting new patients and choose from there if you're not pleased with your assigned OB/nurse combo. If you like your OB and not the nurse, then give that feedback directly to the OB.

    For the perinatologist, I think everyone sees one for the standard tests. If you need to see one more regularly, ask why to understand why your pregnancy might be more risky.

    Something I did via Kaiser for one pregnancy was attend their prenatal yoga class once a week. The yoga was fine, but what I most appreciated was the community of women in the same position as I was in.

    Again -- Congratulations and best wishes on your journey!

    Ugh. Kaiser OB. I did my early fertility treatments at KP Oakland and Fremont and it was awful. They were unhelpful and not great with the bedside manner. No advice there, we switched to RSC and paid out of pocket. But I did have good experience with Gaya Moore in perinatology. She was warm and thorough and I really appreciated her care during the high risk part of my pregnancy (large SCH during my second trimester). Best of luck to you! I feel like there should be a special OB department to deal with pregnant folks after a long struggle with infertility, we enter the system battleworn. Congrats on your pregnancy!!!!!

    Hi!  First off, I am so happy for you and your family on your pregnancy. I can see why Kaiser is frustrating you because Kaiser is generally good for uncomplicated cases. Are you looking to switch doctors? If so, what I like about Kaiser is you can easily switch to a new doctor. The nurse staff are attached to the doctor and so switching just the nurse isn't possible (from my experience with Kaiser Oakland). The OB should be able to refer you to a perinatologist - sorry I'm not familiar with those at Kaiser, just the OBGYNs . Happy to let you know who my OBGYN is if you're interested. 

    Hi and congrats on your pregnancy! Don't worry about the intake OB nurse, and don't try to find another - you won't work with one at all during your pregnancy, it's just her job to ask you those initial intake questions in that one phone call, and then you're handed off to the OB at your first visit. So save your questions. Your OB's medical assistant will make your appointments for you, in the room, so that's the best person to ask about scheduling stuff. Just take one thing at a time, and they'll guide you through. Take the classes, go do the tour... just know that your delivering doctor (or midwife) will (almost certainly) not be the OB you see in the clinic. Best of luck!

    Hi DreMama,
    I'm in a very similar position! Went through almost 5 years of infertility and many rounds of treatments. I'm now 39 weeks pregnant and have been with Kaiser throughout my pregnancy. Honestly, I've had a great experience so far. I didn't have a great connection with the nurse I initially talked to on the phone, but really love the OB I found, and haven't talked to that nurses since. I wouldn't trip off the nurse, maybe just wait to meet your doc. If you don't connect with them, that's a different story. Switch it up.

    Congrats on your preganancy! I've been going to Kaiser Oakland for almost a year (due in one month!) but I've been a Kaiser member my entire life. I'm wondering if you were assigned an RN as your primary instead of an OB? A few years ago I had choosen an RN for my primary but because of my various needs, I often had to also see a doctor, so I ended up switching to an doctor as my primary. Since I've gotten pregnant, my only interactions with nurses are for handing over the urine sample and getting my weight and blood pressure checked. Otherwise, everything is with my doctor (Sarah Wilson, who I highly recommend & she is accepting patients).

    Or I've misunderstand what you mean by OB intake - was that the initial phone call where they set up your first appointment? If so, you will never interact with that person again! I would just skip emailing that nurse (who probably folllowed up with a routine informational email) and go straight to emailing your doctor, even if you haven't met her/him yet (you can also call the Kaiser OB number to leave a message to have your doctor call you: 510-752-1080). You could email Kaiser Member Services to let them know about the unhelpful nurse though.

    My general experience has been that the people working for Kaiser are pretty great - the areas where I feel like they fall through the cracks is communication between departments (Medical Secretaries, Health Education, & OB). My best course has always been to ask/email my doctor first. And do give Member Services feedback when things aren't great.

    I can't help you out with the perinatologist, so hopefully your doctor can. Feel free to shoot me a private message if you want to talk through challenges with Kaiser.

    You can certainly request a new person although many of the Kaiser OB's seem to have someone assigned to them. If yiurvfurst appointment isn't great, I'd consider transferring to Kaiser Walnut Creek. The OB department is staffed by knowledgeable and caring midwives. I had an incredible experience there! Good luck. 

    I am not familiar specifically with Kaiser Oakland but recently had a baby @Kaiser Walnut Creek and I also work in the health care field.  In general the way Kaiser does things is by team based care, so you likely will not see the same nurse midwife and/or OB each time you go to clinic, although they will try to accommodate that if it's super important to you. Of course they all have access to your medical records, etc., and to each other's notes so there is continuity of care in a sense.  Also, unless it's way different that other Kaisers, when you deliver, you will be delivered by the obstetrician and midwives who are on duty/on call that day, and not necessarily by the person (or people) you've been seeing most often in clinic. They also appeared to be working 8 hour shifts I think, which is different from some hospitals that have all 12 hour shifts. This leads to more people coming and going when you are in the hospital, but the people are less tired, which does have its own advantages. If you don't/didn't like the person you interacted with (the nurse or nurse midwife) you could ask to see or speak with a different person next time.  They tend to have a lot of providers, and it's not like some small private OB/gyn clinic or office where there might only be 2-3 people working there, so switching should not be super difficult.  Kaiser is big on prevention so they do a lot of patient counseling, etc., to try to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy since this tends to lead to less birth complications, and keeps their C section rates down, etc.  One advantage of Kaiser is it tends to be more affordable than a lot of other health insurances and/or hospitals. I only paid $250 for being in the hospital 1.5 days and having my son delivered, which is crazily inexpensive...

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I gave birth at Kaiser Oakland 6 weeks ago. My labor was long- 36 hours- so I'm pretty sure I met most of the L&D staff. Everyone, with the exception of one nurse, was really wonderful (and if she came back, I was ready to ask for a different one). So yes, you can always request a new nurse or doctor. My OB/GYN is Dr. Kristen Miranda, and she is really wonderful! I highly recommend her. She's kind, responsive, and had a very non-alarmist approach to my pregnancy that made me feel less anxious (this is my first baby). I switched to her when my NP got transferred to another department 5 months ago, so she may still have openings. As for the intake with the nurse, I could be wrong, but I don't think you'll have any more interactions with her unless you reach out. Once you have your appointment with your doctor, he or she will be answering all your questions, and you can call the advice nurse (which always rotates) with other questions too. Kaiser's system of integrated care is great and really easy to use. I'm not sure where you live, but I've been taking my baby to the Pinole Kaiser for his appointments- it's super suburban, easy to get to (I'm in Richmond) and there's free parking in a big parking lot. So much easier than navigating Oakland! It's really easy to change doctors through your Kaiser online profile, so you don't ever need to explain to anyone why you want to leave them. If you aren't comfortable with your doctor, there's no reason to stay with them. Wishing you the best with the rest of your pregnancy! 

    I too went through years of infertility and gave birth to a healthy (although late pregnancy premature) baby girl 11 weeks ago. I also had many complications. I was treated for infertility elsewhere - there was a 6 month wait and insurance didn't cover it so I went elsewhere. I returned to my OB after I was 7 weeks pregnant.

    Dr. Christine Cooksey is OUTSTANDING! She is also a surgeon, so I've worked with her in that capacity as well. She's direct and compassionate, so if you like your information shrouded in euphemisms she likely isn't going to be a good fit, but she is ideal for me.

    Dr. Gaia Moore, as mentioned, is also kind and competent. I even know stories about her good work when she was at Stanford because of my relationship with Resolve, the national infertility group.

    Both of these women consistently go above and beyond.

    As for Kaiser Oakland I've had a long and complicated relationship with them and my experience has been excellent care and cumbersome administration - but I think cumbersome administration may just be what healthcare in America looks like these days. The actual medical care was exemplary and I felt well taken care of all along the way.

    My thoughts are with you and baby, best to you both on this journey!!!

    Congrats!  I had my daughter 15 months ago at Kaiser.  Honestly, I don't think you work much with the nurse beyond the intake, unless you mean the physician's assistant assigned to your primary Ob/Gyn.  I had one interaction with the pregnancy intake nurse and that was about it.  The rest was with my doctor and her PA.  You should be able to find out when you go in for your ultrasound.  I highly recommend Dr. Rima Goldman if she's taking new patients.  She has a good sense of humor and is thorough.  Be advised, as others have said, that the doctor who works with you during your pregnancy is not the doctor who delivers your baby.   They're separate departments/teams. 

    One trick with Kaiser - if you happen to have an acute care visit with a doctor whose panel isn't officially open, you can ask them directly to be your doctor.  My experience is that they usually say yes, and have their assistant switch you over. 

    Congrats! I've had two babies at Kaiser Oakland in the last five years and am a huge fan of their OB department overall, but you do need to advocate for yourself if you get a bad match initially (as you do at Kaiser in general). The good news is that it's very easy to do--you can change doctors online, and when I had a bad experience with one of the RNs (and am apparently not alone in disliking her, so maybe it's the same one who did your intake?), I simply told Kaiser I did not want to see her anymore and they flagged my record so that I would get assigned to a different RN (who was great). They do like you to have a regular RN in addition to your OB so that's important to do (and I'm not sure you can change that online). Read through the reviews here for some recs for good OBs--there are many there, fortunately, and we also had wonderful experiences with all of the residents (though they change, of course!) and all but one of the nurses we worked with during labor and delivery too. Two OBs I especially like, though they may not be taking new patients, are Erika Deraleau and Erica Breneman. I don't have experience with perinatology at Kaiser and you may not have as many choices, but for Kaiser in general, look for a doctor you feel at ease with, and don't be afraid to switch if it's not a good fit. Also know that you can sometimes contact a doctor directly to get on his or her panel even if they are not officially open to new patients, which can be helpful if you're looking for someone who specializes in a particular area. Even if the doctor can't take you, they may be able to refer you to a colleague who is strong in that area. Be sure to check out the Baby and Me group after your little one arrives, too--it's a terrific free resource for new parents. Good luck, and welcome to Kaiser!

  • I'm 48 and having almost debilitating perimenopausal symptoms (depression, anxiety, hot flashes, mood swings, extreme irritability) and I'm looking for recommendations for an experienced, compassionate doctor in the Kaiser system.  

    Unfortunately the very young doctor I was assigned to when I joined Kaiser this year was incredibly dismissive and said there is no treatment, that I should just wait it out.  The only suggestions were more exercise, more salad and throw in some meditation.   Yeah.....no. That's not going to cut it.  

    I'm with Kaiser Oakland, but I'm pretty sure my plan doesn't limit me to Oakland only.   Female slightly preferred, but at this point I'll take what I can get!

    Been there.  My nice young Kaiser GP told me to exercise and drink a lot of water.   Um...I already do that?

    That experience sent me searching for a female gyno older than me in hopes of find one that went through the change already and found one in Dr. Laurie Miller (in SF).  I live in Oakland and you can choose a doctor in SF.   We discussed various options for my biggest complaint (insomnia) and she gave me the clamira estrogen patch.  The patch worked beautifully but I hated the side effects (I felt like I was in my 20s again, the last time I was on birth control pills - weight gain, bloating, and feeling urky too often).  So I stopped using it with her full support.   That was a year ago and I'm just sort of coping with all of my symptoms for now (they are not nearly as debilitating as yours sound) but it feels good to know that Dr. Miller will work with me on solutions beyond exercise and water when I need her to.

    My wonderful OB/GYN nurse practitioner at Kaiser Oakland retired. She put me on a low dose of Zoloft for perimenopausal/PMDD symptoms, and it made a huge difference. I tried lots of other things before deciding to try the meds, and was so relieved to find something that helped. Sharing in case that's helpful. Hope you find a good doc and get the help you need!

    I'd file a complaint against that doctor. He clearly doesn't know what he's doing and he sounds really condescending. There is no reason to suffer and there are tons of treatments. I can't recommend you to anyone at Kaiser but I wanted to chime in anyway. My doctor put me on birth control pills and they saved my sanity, my job, and my marriage. You will immediately start to feel better! I take the lowest dose pill possible since we don't need to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. I'd demand a new appointment asap and tell them that you want BCP immediately.

    Following. I have Kaiser, too. Been dismissed just as you have. Hang in there, and hope this thread gets some good suggestions! 

    I love my endocrinologist at Kaiser union city, Jade Gaines. It takes a couple visits for her to warm up (her bedside manner), but she's super smart, listens, takes time to consider options, etc. I've seen a lot of endocrinologists, and this is the first time I've ever stayed with one in my network instead of going to the number one doc in SF. Worth it!

    If you're willing to travel to Martinez, Dr. Nan is wonderful, compassionate, down-to-earth and has been in practice for many years. (He is male.)

    Just make sure you're not suffering from hyperthyroid.  I thought I was perimenopausal too, with many of those symptoms, but really it was Grave's Disease.  I would think any competent doc would think to check this in a 48 year old woman, but just in case they hadn't...

  • Patricia Zayas at kaiser oakland

    (3 replies)

    Hello everybody,

    i' ve got assigned to dr Zayas at kaiser in oakland as my obg, i can' t find on line any reviews about her. Did any of you had her as a obg?please give me some info. Thank you.

    I started seeing Dr Zayas last summer and LOVE her. She's so patient, kind and engaged. She makes you feel like you're her only patient. 

    I saw her a few times and liked her.  She went out of her way to help me opt out of some non-essential labs and procedures.  I had troubles with the bureaucracy of kaiser, It was hard for me to figure out what was what-  my choices, the important stuff, stuff to decline, and costs.  I am also inexperienced with getting medical care as an adult so that was a factor.  But given the inherent challenges of dr Zaya's role in the big org, I found her to be both warm and competently professional.

    Dr. Zayas is my OB/GYN and I really love her.  I've been through a pregnancy with her so have seen her quite a bit.  Always felt like she was willing to take the time to answer any questions or concerns I might have.  She was also very warm towards my husband during the prenatal appointments he came to, which is nice as when you're pregnant things can often get focused on the mother to the point that the father gets a bit of a brush-off!

  • Hi There Community,

    I'm a new mom, who is looking for doctor recommendations through Kaiser.  We birthed our little one at Pacifica. While we did go to our scheduled appointments through Kaiser, our OB/GYN was nice but passive and not that progressive.  I'm currently having some adrenal issues and I'm wanting to know if anyone has a good primary or OB/GYN that is would work with me to order labs and do some extensive testing. Thank you in advance for any guidance here!

    Hi there, I really love my OBGYN at Kaiser -- she's at Kaiser Oakland, Dr. Kristen Miranda. I found her to be very supportive and progressive.

    Oakland Kaiser -Dr Laura Minikle is great.

    Anne Eastman at Kaiser is fabulous. She was a calm and competent presence for me through some confusing complications.

  • Please recommend a gynecologist

    (2 replies)

    Let me get right to it: A history of no vaginal births and five recent years of (estrogen-suppressing) Tamoxifen have exacerbated my already post-menopausal difficulties with pelvic procedures.  I'm talking severe pain that goes way beyond what I used to imagine as a "10" on that form that hospitals sometimes use. Knives and burning coals come to mind. As my last gyn experience has me in the (ultimately untenable) position of asserting "never again," I'm looking for a new gynecologist open to taking my issue into account. I presently have Kaiser, but this has me considering moving to a more expensive insurance plan. I will be very thankful for any recommendations within the Bay Area.   

    I recommend dr. Breneman at Kaiser Oakland, if you can get her. In the past, with similar difficulties, I've used a two or three night prescription of (an estrogen cream I think?  Something that gets prescribed for post-menopausal difficult sex, can't recall exactly). The cream helped immensely. It's something you don't want to be using regularly, but for that short a period and for the help it provided, I risk it. Best of luck. 

    Dr. Rima Goldman at Kaiser in Oakland is wonderful. She's straightforward, listens carefully, and honestly cares about her patients.

Parent Reviews

Congratulations! I don't know Dr. Simon, but I had Dr. Bindoo Rellan (which I think is who you meant by Bindoo Arellano) in Oakland and would not recommend her. She made me feel rushed during appointments, was brusque with me and brushed off my questions, and then recommended things during my pregnancy that, in hindsight, were the exact opposite of what I should have been doing. I'm also pretty sure she misdiagnosed me with placenta previa, which had miraculously gone away when I saw a different doctor. I initially hesitated to change doctors mid-pregnancy, but finally I couldn't take it anymore and I ended up switching to a lovely NP in month 8, who has since retired. 

Love my OB, Shree Chanchani, at Oakland!

I had Karen Carlson and loved her. Great experience. 

I love my OB/GYN in Oakland, Dr. Jung. Excitingly, she is relocating her practice to the new KP Berkeley site in May so her panel, which NEVER has space, probably will have some openings in April and May as people who want to stay in Oakland reassign themselves. I am on the cusp of menopause myself so I can't speak to how she is specifically for that, but she has been wonderful at all the life stages up til now and I have every confidence in her.

RE: Kaiser Oakland Doctors ()

I had Renée Perry as an OBGYN for years and enjoyed her. She was always personable and friendly. She helped me through an ectopic pregnancy which was tough for me, so I’m grateful to her for that. 

RE: Kaiser Oakland Doctors ()

Hi! Welcome to the area :) My ob-gyn is wonderful and I really highly recommend her: Angela Shay Lee. 

We're with Kaiser, and I love my OB (Dr. Sarah Wilson), and we had a great experience having our baby at Kaiser Oakland. 

RE: In search of Kaiser ObGyn ()

OBGYN is Sonia Ordonez ar KP Oakland. Skilled and very thorough, I recommend her talents. She saw me through a over 40 pregnancy with a high-grade pre-cancerous cell scare. But she does take a little while to warm up, mostly all business:-)

I had my first appointment yesterday with Dr. Sherman (gyno) out of Oakland and was very impressed. She knew her stuff, was funny and smart and (in response to your eastern criteria) mentioned acupressure during our appointment so is possibly open to alternate modalities. She has kind of a sassy New Yorker vibe which, as an east coast native, I adore. I've had to email her twice already and both times she replied in less than an hour.

Dr. Sternberg-Pierce is my GP and I've found her to be very accessible and warm as well. I've actually only met her in person maybe a handful of times because she lets me do almost everything via email (which I love and request). I've never had to fight her to get treatment or referrals for anything.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Kaiser Oakland OB/GYN recommendation

Sept 2014

There are only 3 female MD's (I prefer a female) accepting new patients in Oakland at this time: Aubrey Smith Rima Goldman Sonia Ordonez
And 3 female NP's: Ann O'Connor Gabriela Dela Riva Elaine Staveley
Anybody have any input on any of these practitioners?
I am looking for someone with experience, a good bedside manner, and low key on interventions. Thanks! rachel


I highly recommend Aubrey Smith. I joined Kaiser in December 2013, 10 weeks pregnant. I saw Dr. Smith for all my prenatal visits and she was wonderful. She always took time to answer all my questions (of which I sometimes brought printed lists to my appointments) and never made me feel rushed. She is also very reachable by e-mail, and would usually respond to any messages I sent her at kp.org in a few hours, even on Sundays. She was wonderfully kind throughout the whole pregnancy, and made me feel like she truly cared about me as a patient. I had to go to the emergency room once during the pregnancy and that night, she called my cell phone after work (6pm) to check up on me and see how I was feeling. She is the best doctor I've ever had. She only works in the clinic and doesn't delivery any babies in the hospital. I wanted very little interventions during labor and delivery, and chose to deliver at Walnut Creek instead of Oakland because I thought they would accommodate that better. She was really supportive of that choice. Good luck finding a doctor that works for you! Mollie


At the very end of my pregnancy I saw NP Elaine Staveley for an appointment when my regular OB/GYN was out of the office, and I found myself wishing she had been my practitioner all along. I was already pretty unhappy with my other doctor at that point and so I switched to NP Staveley shortly after my baby was born. She seems to have a ton of knowledge and a reassuring yet matter-of-fact bedside manner. She is British and I believe was trained in the UK as a midwife. I have only seen her twice, but have consulted her via email a few times and have been quite happy with her. R.


I had reason to visit Kaiser's OB/GYN department a lot last year, and was seen by a few of the doctors and NPs on your list. Dr. Ordonez stood out to me as the very best -- efficient yet thorough, glad to discuss treatment options, excellent with all the details. I was thrilled to learn she was accepting new patients then and I switched to her care immediately. I'm still happy and I highly recommend her. Anon


Hi-I think Ann O'Connor was on your list. I can recommend her very highly. No one likes to go to the gyn, and I'm borderline phobic. She's seen me through my pregnancies and some health scares as well as years of routine care. I feel like she really knows me and cares about me. She's very experienced and knowledgable. The only downside is that she often runs late and keeps me waiting, but I figure that's because she gives all her patients extra time. So, I just bring a book. Anon


Kaiser OB/GYN in favor of natural childbirth

July 2014

Pregnant with my second and new to Kaiser. Had an amazing natural childbirth at St. Luke's in San Francisco with my first, and would love to have the same type of experience with my second. Live in Oakland but am willing to travel for the right person and birthing experience. Can you recommend someone who is kind, knowledgeable and not just tolerant of but in favor of natural childbirth as well as minimally invasive prenatal care. Thank you! rachel


Congrats on the coming baby! We also live in Oakland and are getting ready to have baby #2 with Kaiser. The first was a wonderful unmedicated birth at Kaiser Oakland, and hopefully the second will be as well. My experience with my own OB and the few others I have seen is that broadly speaking, Kaiser is very supportive of natural/drug-free childbirth, and pretty minimalist in their prenatal care to start (they have wider windows between appointments than many practices, and unless you are AMA, very few ultrasounds, etc.--you can also always decline these).

The trick with Kaiser, though, is that when it comes down to it, your OB will almost certainly not attend the birth--instead, if you deliver at Oakland, it will be a resident, the nursing staff, and perhaps the attending OB who is on call that day. At other Kaiser locations that are not teaching hospitals, it's midwives instead of residents. So you do not have full control over who is there on the actual day of the birth, and that makes the biggest difference (in my view) in how a natural birth goes, especially if you are hoping to skip drugs.

We were lucky and had an amazing team for our first delivery--all of the residents I interacted with were very supportive of/knowledgeable about natural childbirth and the nurses on shift at the time were stellar, suggesting different pain strategies almost like a doula might. Both nurses and residents asked about our preferences/birth plan and paid attention to our answers. Kaiser's standard practices on things like waiting to cut the cord, immediate skin-to-skin contact, supporting breastfeeding, etc. are all pretty progressive (in keeping with most Bay Area hospitals, from what I hear).

However, I had absolutely no control over that, and it could have been a very different experience with a different set of nurses, in particular (since you will see them much more often than the doctors, who just pop in every once in a while to see how things are progressing and then for the actual delivery). Going into birth #2, I feel pretty empowered to be clear about my choices and decisions after doing this once before, so I think it will be fine even if the L team isn't as supportive as last time. But if you are concerned about it, you can hire a doula, who can help to advocate for you and support you even if you wind up with less than supportive nurses. There are several who work regularly at Kaiser Oakland and are familiar with how things work there.

For OBs, check first to see whose panels are open--these are the people you can choose from. Then you can post again to BPN with the specific names to see what kinds of experiences folks have had with prenatal care with the particular doctors available to you. (I've found that panels often open up early in the month, too, so if there's someone you particularly like, you may have better luck getting a spot in early August, too.) Another Kaiser mama


I had 2 children thru Kaiser both delivered 'naturally' (no drugs, interventions, etc). Since your Dr is not necessarily the one to help you deliver your child it doesn't really matter whether who you see is 'pro' or 'anti' NC, you know? All in all I found Kaiser to be completely encouraging and respectful of my intentions to deliver naturally. Hire a doula so you can have an advocate in the room with you - I found that extremely helpful as well. Good luck! kaiser mama


Kaiser will meet this need. I keep seeing questions on BPN looking for ObGyns who support natural childbirth. I don't understand why people still think this is hard to find. In fact you'd have to work pretty hard to find a doctor around here who doesn't support natural childbirth, Kaiser or otherwise. I had natural drug-free births at Kaiser Oakland 28 and 31 years ago, totally supported by the docs and nurses, and from all indications (see past discussions on BPN) this has continued to be the case.

It seems like word would have gotten out by now that Kaiser and practically everyone else supports natural childbirth. It ain't 1959 anymore


Kaiser Oakland Ob Gyn recs

March 2014

I'm continually on the hunt for an Ob/Gyn that I trust and have mutual respect for; and that is also accepting new patients... Does anyone have experience with Dr. Ordonez? I am trying to conceive our second, and our first was born at Sacred Birth so we're planning a home birth or another birth center birth. I'd like to find a doctor who is accepting of that and respects my decisions and knowledge of my body. Any insight on Dr. Ordonez would be very helpful! Or any of the following (currently with an open panel): Seema Shah, Rima Goldman, Aubrey Smith,Meena Shankar, Elaine Stavely or Ann O'Connor. L


I recommend Dr. Erika Deraleau at Kaiser Oakland. She's been totally great with our decision to go with a birthing center. She's always super on top of it and has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We actually switched to her after not having the greatest experience with another doctor you mentioned. Her undergraduate work was in Women's Studies, so I felt like she would be supportive of our decision, and that turned out to be so. Also, if you're hunting for a birthing center, may I suggest Pacifica Family Maternity Center which opened up about a year and a half ago so the facilities are superb. More importantly, the midwives and women staffing there are absolutely phenomenal...intelligent, warm, supportive, and very competent. A


You cant go wrong with Ann O'Connor! Grab a spot with her if she still has one. The only downside is that she's so generous with her time that she often keeps people waiting. I can't say enough good things about her! Long time satisfied patient


I have experience with two practicioners from your list: Stavley and O'Connor. I believe neither one is a doctor, which is fine if your pregnancy has no issues. They are equally knowledgeable and warm, but I prefer Ann O'Connor. There was one time when they were doing an ultrasound and couldn't find the baby and thought there may be an issue, so I was upset and Stavley panicked and forgot to forward my paperwork to another paperwork she sent me on to, so I had to deal with her being panicked rather than her taking care of me. It could be it was an off day for her, but I still remember, 13 years later!

As for Ann, I've seen her for over 13 years as well, and she's still my nurse practitioner (in addition to an OBGYN doctor I am assigned to). She knows when to go to an MD if there's an issue, and is very capable to deal with ''regular'' pregnancies. She's also great after the delivery, b/c she is very good with hands on solutions for plugged ducts (she's unplugged those for me multiple times after my first child was born). Not sure if I answered your question, but hope this helps. Good luck!


Seeking recommendations for a Kaiser gynocologist

Dec 2013

My Kaiser gynocologist will likely retire in 2014 and I am seeking recommendations for someone in the KP Oakland, Alameda, or Hayward(soon to be San Leandro) medical centers. Note I left off the ''OB'' in OB/GYN -- I am in my late 50s and would like someone who can care for a nearly-post-menopausal type like me. All suggestions are welcome. Thanks. Anon


I see Ann O'Connor at Kaiser Oakland and think she's just fantastic. Competent, calm, respectful -- I recommend her highly. Naomi


Judith Lamberti at Oakland Kaiser has been my gynecologist for many years and I think she's tops. She also has good instincts and figures things out that flumox other doctors. Joyce


Good Kaiser Oakland OB GYN?

Sept 2013

Hello, Looking for a good Kaiser OB/Gyn (Oakland) who can remove a simple post-partum skin tag on vaginal opening and that is not alarmist about homebirths (since I had developed some high blood pressure during pregnancy my current OB wanted to induce me at 39 wks despite no other pre-eclampsia symptoms-midwife stated this was legally and not clinically motivated and baby came naturally at home a week later w close monitoring of my BP. It was not high during labor. So thankful I had my midwife as a medical advocate, even if I'd have birthed at the hospital) . Current gyn supposedly clipped off skin tag (about 3 months ago), put in two stitches, was rough and had to add lidocaine as she went along -- it hurt!! However, I see the tag is still there, is still painful when I spread my legs/wash myself. Sometimes it bleeds a little. Any good ppl out there? Thank you!! Anonymous


I currently see and love Dr. Cooksey. I have also seen Dr. Deraleau a couple of times and liked her very much though I can't speak to her skills in reference to what you need done. Anon


Seeking kaiser oakland obgyn

June 2013

Can someone recommend a Kaiser Oakland OBGYN doctor? anonymous


I have been seeing Dr. Cooksey for 2 years now, through a miscarriage and current pregnancy, and I love her. She answers questions fully and doesn't rush through appts, and is incredibly responsive over email (for instance, she answered an email I sent the same day though I had received an email response that she'd be out of the office for another 4 days). Also, I just genuinely like her personally. She's just kind and down-to-earth. I've heard from the nursing staff that she is their favorite as well, because she really treats them as equals, unlike many of the other MDs. Big fan


I've been seeing Dr. Christie Cooksey for a few years now, and she is really fantastic. She was my doctor through my first pregnancy and delivered my son during an intense and somewhat problematic delivery. Other than being a truly competent and nurturing OB, she is also a great GYN -- she is confident and matter-of-fact, but always remembers me and is never too rushed to take the time to thoroughly answer questions. Another thing to note: I've sent her many emails over the past few years, about various things of varying importance, and she always gets back to me quickly, which I truly appreciate. I highly recommend her! lea


Can you recommend (or not!) your Kaiser OB/GYN?

March 2013

Hi, I am new to Kaiser and newly pregnant with #2. Can you recommend your Kaiser Oakland OB/GYN? It would also be helpful to know if there is anyone strongly recommended against. Thanks in advance! Anon


I highly recommend dr. Renee perry at the Oakland kaiser. She is incredibly friendly, was very supportive of our decision to have a home birth, and always makes me feel like she has time for me- never rushes through appointments. From the first time I met her, I felt comfortable; almost like having a good friend as my doctor. Can't recommend her highly enough. Love my OB


I love Lisa Sherman - she is smart, funny, no-nonsense and straightforward. Shepherded me through a high risk pregnancy at 38 and is now helping me navigate hormonal changes in my 40's. Dr. Sherman fan


I've seen two ob/gyns at Kaiser Oakland. Barbara Jung was nice but our personalities didn't match. I also saw Janie Hirata and would not recommend her. I found her style completely alarmist and her communication style just didn't work for me. I pushed Dr. Jung to get a specialist, but she pushed back and said no. I saw Caryn Rybczynski for a D after a miscarriage and really, really liked her. But she was full and not taking new patients. If she was taking new patients I would have gone with her. Instead I ended up going to Kaiser Redwood City and have been thrilled with my care there. I've heard great things about Kaiser Walnut Creek too. disappointed


I really loved Nurse Practitioner Ann O'Connor at Oakland Kaiser. She always listened to me, and took all of my comments, complaints, weird side effects, etc. seriously. Great bedside manner, and great care. I don't see her any more because my family switched to Hayward Kaiser, but I miss her! (I also saw NP Elaine Stavely once, in an urgent care situation, and she was also great. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them.) Happy with Kaiser


I can HIGHLY recommend Dr. Caryn Rybczynski. She has seen me through two challenging pregnancies. She is an AMAZING OB, always taking the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have. She is a very understanding and very helpful. I cannot say enough great things about her. All of my other doctors are in Pinole, but she is the only reason I still go to Kaiser Oakland. If you want a great, thorough, and understanding OB, go see her. You will not be disappointed! Melany


I really like Laura Minikel at Kaiser. She's got a great bedside manner and is really supportive. anon


I've had a lot of OB/GYNs at Kaiser Oakland. My first one was a resident who ended up going somewhere else. Caryn Rybczynski was my second one. We didn't get along all that well, but I was just going in for pap smears, so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I asked my husband to go with me one time to see if she were just catty with me or if it was my fault, and she was fine when he was around. Then we got pregnant. Oh my gosh, we were pregnant! That's never happened before!! I made an appt. with her immediately, and she chided us for not going to her website and following her instructions to go to the lab and have tests done before taking ''time that I could be seeing patients who actually need to see a doctor''!! She said I was ''barely pregnant'', and I should NOT have made an appt. with her!! So we switched to Gina Foster, who was amazing, but she's part time in Oakland, and she went out on maternity leave too. She recommended her doctor, Neeru Gupta, who has been lovely. She's younger, so I don't know about her experience as compared w/ Dr. Rybczynski, but she's super supportive and has been wonderful for us. Also, I think it's worth noting that she is the OB for another KP doctor, and she chose Dr. Gupta to perform her C- section. Liz


My experience with Caryn Rybczynski last year was the opposite of the previous posters. My husband and I were shocked by how rude and unhelpful she was. For example, the first thing she said to me was, ''I don't understand why you're here.'' I explained that I was a new patient there for a routine prenatal exam and that I had been monitored by a high risk doctor up until that point, which was the end of my second trimester. She didn't say anything like ''Nice to meet you.'' She then told me that I should not gain anymore weight for the rest of my pregnancy, despite the fact that I was well within the recommended weight guidelines and had never been close to overweight in my life. When I told her I thought I was eating a healthy diet, she cut me off and said she didn't want to discuss my diet. What was the point in telling me I had gained too much weight if she wasn't recommending any course of action? It went on and on like that, with her making pronouncements that contradicted what my previous doctor's advice (who is the assistant chief of the obstetrics department) and cutting me off when I tried to ask questions. It was by far the most unpleasant interaction I've ever had with a doctor. Laura


I love Dr. Barbara Jung in Oakland. I've been seeing her for about 10 years, through 2 pregnancies and a miscarriage. She is always running late, but when I had the miscarriage I realized that's because if you need her, she will do what you need her to do with a warm and caring manner. Her panel is never open, but if by chance you catch her, it's your lucky day. KP mama


Kaiser OB or CNM for twins?

Sept 2012

I just found out that baby #2 is actually babies #2 and #3-- twins! I had my first baby at Alta Bates with a midwife from East Bay Perinatal and had a great experience all around, but I'm with Kaiser now, so all the options are different. I've been seeing an OB for prenatal care at Oakland, although she's planning to send me to perinatology now that she knows it's twins, since twins are apparently ''high risk'' by definition. Has anyone had any recent experiences with delivering twins at either Oakland or Walnut Creek? Any recommendations for an OB or CNM at either place who is supportive of a natural birth for twins? (or any advice on specific doctors to avoid?) I'd appreciate any and all advice! expecting twins


I haven't had twins, but have seen both perinatologists at Kaiser Oakland and the one at Kaiser Walnut Creek. Dr. Walton in Oakland has followed me for two pregnancies and is fantastic. I wasn't as big a fan of Dr. Newman (Oakland) or Dr. Maier (Walnut Creek). anon


Seeking phenomenal Kaiser GP and specialists!

Dec 2011

After years of sitting on the fence, I've switched from HealthNet to Kaiser. My reluctance stemmed from the fact that -- through years of trial and error -- I had found a primary care physician and team of specialists who I trusted and who took great care of me. My hope is that it won't take years at Kaiser before I feel I'm receiving the same level of care. Please tell me about doctors in Kaiser who you feel are exceptional. I have a science background and prefer doctors who treat me as an intellectual equal and who are willing/able to talk about the science behind the medicine. Caring/compassionate bedside manner is, of course, also preferred. I'm particularly looking for: 1) a female family doctor/general practitioner 2) a female OB-GYN 3) a pediatrician 4) endocrinologist for treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis -- I'm on combination therapy (levoxyl and levothrionine) and would like to maintain this 5) orthopedic surgeon (for knee surgery that I have long delayed but need to take care of) Thanks for recommendations. anon


I've been very happy with both my Kaiser OB, Erica Breneman, and my GP, Tali Ziv (both at Oakland) and would highly recommend both. I like them both for the same reasons---they respect me and take any concerns I have seriously, and are always very direct/honest (including when they don't know what's causing a symptom or problem), which I appreciate. They're also both very responsive if I call or email with questions (sometimes even responding late at night or over the weekends). In general, I think you need to be proactive at Kaiser to find doctors you like (and happily, there are lots of great ones out there!) You can switch online, which makes it pretty easy---if you don't like a doctor, don't be shy about choosing a new one. Also, the Kaiser online system will often show doctors as not having open panels. Your options are either to wait and try again (often they seem to have openings at the beginning of each month) or to contact the doctor directly if there's a reason you'd like to see her (specific expertise, etc.) because some doctors will add you even when they aren't officially open to new patients. So don't stress if you pick out a few doctors you'd like to see and then the system says you can't see them. We've been really happy with Kaiser, and also switched somewhat begrudgingly since we were happy with the various doctors we saw with Healthnet. I have come to greatly appreciate Kaiser's streamlined care---I love that my doctors talk to one another and email each other when there's something the other should know, and having testing and other procedures all under one roof has been wonderful. Happy Kaiser patient


March 2011

Hi, my great gynecologist at Kaiser Oakland has moved on, and I'm looking for a recommendation for a new gynecologist. I'm NOT needing OB services, and notice that all the recommendations on BPN are all about pregnancy and birthing. On the KP website, the doctor's mostly rave about how much they LOVE seeing younger patients. Does anyone have a recommendation for a great gynecologist for those of us nearing menopause? I'd travel to Walnut Creek if it was worth it. Many Thanks!


I have been very happy with my Kaiser gynocologist, Judith Lamberti, at the Oakland Medical Center. She's been great for my peri-menopause, and now menopausal, needs. Anon


I don't know if she is taking new patients, but Janet Wiese at Oakland Kaiser is a terrific gynecologist. She's thorough, knowledgeable, and warm and friendly. She takes her time too. I'm past menopause, so OB is not an issue. I trust her judgement and highly recommend her. happy with my doctor


Erica Brenemen is a wonderful doctor @Oakland Kaiser. I have seen her for several years, just had routine care, but she is great about answering any all questions. Last year, during a routine pap exam she found some fibroids which turned out to be very early stage endromedial cancer. First, she gave me an appointment within 2 days of the diagnosis. She said she never gives this kind of news over the phone. When I saw her, she had already set up a presurgery exam w/one of the most respected gyn surgeons in the whole East Bay Kaiser system. She also had 15 pages of info re. the specific type of cancer, and another 15 pages or so of treatment scenarios, as well as a list of depts. w/phone nos. where I would need to schedule exams, blood tests, etc. I'm in my late 70's so there were some issues. In one day, thanks to her careful preparation, I had made every single appointment that I needed. It was very smooth; surgery went very well; didn't need chemo or radiation, & walked a mile in the hospital the day after my surgery (in 2 installments for a day or so; then in 1 installment) If she has room on her panel, I feel sure that you will find her equally helpful & thorough. Happy Grandmother. lila


Feb 2010

Re: Kaiser OB who supports home birth?

I am early in my 3rd pregnancy and am most likely planning a home birth. Some of the BPN archives seem to say that an OB can ''drop'' you from their care if they know that you are getting concurrent (private paid) care from a midwife in preparation for home birth. I had planned to use Kaiser to get all of my labs and bloodwork and testing done since it would all be covered under my insurance, but I am worried my OB will refuse to write the orders for such things if she knows I am planning a home birth. Somehow this seems illegal to me in some way. If I'm covered by Kaiser insurance, don't they have to allow me to use my insurance for costs that are allowed under my plan, regardless of where I choose to deliver this baby? -Wish Kaiser covered home birth


Both Erica Breneman and Ann Eastman have been supportive of women planning homebirths. I planned homebirths for both of my children and received excellent concurrent care with Erica. I had all my labs, my amniocentesis, genetic counseling, and some other high risk follow-up done at Kaiser. My first son was born at home, and my second son ended up being born prematurely via cesarean birth (for breech positioning) at the hospital. In both cases, I received great care. A friend used Ann Eastman similarly and had a wonderful experience. Best of luck to you and your baby!


The nice thing about Kaiser as opposed to some other PPO, HMO plans is they will not drop you if they find out you're planning a homebirth. They will give you concurrent care. That doesn't mean the OB will necessarily make you feel supported. I am in my second pregnancy and have had one homebirth, planning another, and get concurrent Kaiser care. My OB has been amazing and supportive, rooted me on the whole way, and provided valuable additional care to my homebirth midwife. She has also ordered all my labs. Her name is Renee Perry and she's at Oakland Kaiser. I highly recommend her. I have heard that not all the OB's there are supportive. Gook luck! Local


Hi There, just wanted to let you know that not everyone at Kaiser is against homebirth. I switched to Kaiser from United Healthcare just before I found out I was pregnant. I am so glad I did though. I received the best care I could have wished for by my OB and pretty much all the staff that I encountered. I was expecting to have either a homebirth or a waterbirth at Sage Femme (SF). I had totally disclosed this information to my OB and she was totally supportive of that, she even told me about her experiences of attending a couple of homebirths herself. I definitely lucked out with her. I did not end up having a home or water birth because I had placenta previa and but I am very lucky to have had the great care at Kaiser that I did. I received my prenatal checkups and care at Kaiser Oakland with Dr. Wiese and would totally recommend her. Perhaps you would want to check out Kaiser in Walnut Creek's Midwife program if Oakland is too far away from you. Claudia


i too planned a homebirth and have kaiser insurance. i must say i was quite impressed with them, they were totally ok with doing parallel care for labs, etc. pretty much whatever i wanted to do. my doctor is carla wicks (who is on maternity leave) but i think most will do the same. congrats! homebirth mama


2005 - 2009 Reviews


Sept 2009

I have just changed my insurance to kaiser, a need a ob and a regular physician.any recomendation please.


My OB/GYN at (Oakland) Kaiser is Joanne Gras & I really like her. She's down-to-earth, apys attention, seems to really know her stuff & is also flexible (didn't bat an eye when I told her we were planning a home birth, and Kaiser was just our back-up plan -and- just congratulated me & supported me when we ended up having our son at Kaiser after 20 hours of home labor) Kendra


I highly, highly recommend Dr. Weiss for your OB/GYN. I started seeing her when I was pregnant last year (so I have seen her MANY times). Before I found her, I had had a few negative experiences and I she was just what I wanted in a doctor. She has a positive and warm manner, presents information in an organized and clear way, and always treats me like an individual (something that doesn't always happen at Kaiser): she remembers details about me, takes my questions seriously, and make time to talk to me. There was a point in my pregnancy when she had some concerns and I felt that she acted quickly, took it seriously and followed up but remained calm and didn't scare me. She is very quick to return emails through their system. I also really like her medical assistant. When I saw her at the end of the day she was often running late, but I've found that to be true with most doctors. Laura


March 2009

My wife is new to Kaiser and we are newly pregnant (Yay!). We did some homework (mostly here) and had a list of doctors we had hoped to request. None were accepting new patients and so, in the end, we were assigned Joann Gras, a doctor whom I can dig up no info on. Does anyone here have any experience with her? Dan


I know this isn't the advice you asked for but I'd like to recommend Dr. Lishiana Shaffer. I delivered a baby boy 4 1/2 months ago and saw Dr. Shaffer through my whole pregnancy and honestly think she was fabulous, i looked forward to seeing her every month. Lily


Dec 2008

I am thinking of changing my OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland, and wonder if anyone has had any experience with Dr. Dawn Ogawa? She's one of the few female docs available right now. Thanks.


I worked with Dr. Ogawa when she was a resident at UCSF. She's wonderful: clinically excellent, and very down to earth. Stephanie


I delivered at UCSF, and as you may know in a setting like that, you really don't know who is going to deliver your child. We loved all the drs at UCSF and had great experience... Anyway, Dr. Ogawa delivered my son in a pretty intense, high-pressure situation. I had a high-risk pregnancy and was induced - then, they had to use forceps because our son was going into distress. While I didn't know her well before the delivery, we were really impressed with her, especially given the intense situation. anon


Dec 2008

Hello, My wife is looking for a new ob/gyn at the oakland kaiser facility. She doesn't like the one she got randomly assigned to (nothing bad or unprofessional; they just don't click personality wise). She's mostly just looking for someone compassionate and willing to take the time to explain things to her; age/sex/race not important. Anyone have a kaiser OB/GYN they like? Ben


If Ann Eastman is taking new patients, she has a wonderful manner and unbeatable care - always makes you feel that seeing you is the best part of her day, and her care is fantastic too. af


I love Dr. Minikel. I had her through my pregnancy and she delivered my daugher (it was a fluke that she was on rotation at Alta Bates that week; this was before Kaiser finished their maternity ward). She is very nice, very empathetic. I came to one of my appointments in tears after the nurse told me it was time for my first routine mammogram (there was more going on; it was the straw that broke the camel's back) and she was great. Kaiser patient


I see NP Rebecca Avery at Kaiser Oakland. She is wonderful and saw me through my second pregnancy. Call to see if she has openings for new patients. She is easy to talk to and easy to relate to. Good luck anonymous


I love my Oakland Kaiser OB. I do know that not all are taking new patients and you need to check who's available for that. But.... my doc is Erica Breneman and she is fabulous. I have seen and had very good experiences with Dr. Barbara Jung and Dr. Caryn Rybczynski. I have also seen Dr. Bullick, Dr. Kim and Dr. Guerra. They were ranging from great to fine, but no ''warm fuzzies'' there. Usually at Kaiser, one ends up seeing a nurse practitioner. I have really like seeing Nurse Balian and a nurse named Colette (I only remember the Colette part and not the whole name). Good luck!


I highly recommend Dr. Renee Perry if she is still accepting new patients. She's wonderful and warm and seems quite knowledgable. Found her after going through several other practitioners while pregnant, which was NOT fun. Dr. Perry's great! Good luck. anon


Hi - I have Eve Zaritsky, OBGYN at Kaiser Oakland and love her I had an amazing delivery for my second induced VBAC 4 hours of pushing.. the team there was absolutly in favor or helping me achieve my goal of a VBAC through all prenatal and delivery care. Roz


Nov 2008

Re: new to Kaiser, Ob/Gyn

I really like my OB, Dr. Renee Perry. I had a horrible time while pregnant until I finally found her. If she's still accepting new patients, she's great. Very sweet bedside manner and very knowledgeable.


In OB/GYN the Nurse Practioners are better than the docs. Elaine Stavely is a straight shooter but excellent. Happy and healthy at Kaiser since 1975


Oct 2008

I recently moved to Berkeley from the city and need to choose a OB who excels at cesarean delivery. Our insurance plan is under Kaiser. My first baby was delivered by elective c-section, and I have no interest in VBAC. I'm interested in finding a doctor who has a good track record delivering babies via c-section. Any recommendations, anecdotes would be highly appreciated. THANKS!


I delivered my twins at Oakland Kaiser via c-section. My ObGyn, Dr. Brenamen is fantastic. I don't know if she's accepting new patients though. She does work a week every couple of months in labor and delivery but at Kaiser you get whoever is on duty when your c-section is scheduled. You don't get to choose. I had a wonderful experience with my c-section. Because of the twins, I had a double team and everyone was great. Just go with the flow; you will be in competent hands. anon


May 2008

Re: Kaiser GYN?
Highly recommend Erika Brenaman, in Oakland, very happy with my surgery two years ago, follow ups, years before going through surgery helped me to understand my situation and make a decision, can not be happier. Change my life forever in a positive way and I owe it to her. Good Luck very happy person


Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2007

Nov 2007

Re: Kaiser OB GYN Recommendations
I really like Dr. Erica Breneman (sp?). I've been going to her for almost three years. She is kind (I had two miscarriages), thorough, and does not rush. Hannah


Oct 2007

Re: Kaiser PCP, OBGYN & Ped. recommendations
Laura Minikel is the best OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. She is personable, skilled and current in her medical knowledge. The only drawback is that the word about her is out, so she is always booked up. She cared for me during GYN illness, infertility and two pregnancies. I highly recommend her if she is taking new patients. Satisfied customer


Oct 2007

Can anyone recommend an OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland who is supportive of VBACs? I am new to Kaiser, and although currently not pregnant, I'd like to choose a Doctor I can stick with once the time comes. I had a planned C-section with my first child because she was breech, which was the hospital's policy. I'd like to try a VBAC next time and avoid the long recovery from a C-section. Thanks for your help! Joanna


Your assigned Gyn is not the doctor you will see for Ob care at kaiser. If you are having a normal, no risk pregnancy then you will have appointments monthly with any one of the OBs or NPs on the rotation in the maternity offices. If you have a highrisk pregnancy then you will see an OB not an NP. Sometimes, near the beginning of the pregnancy you can get the appointment with the same doctor for several appointments in a row, but usually that doesn't work out once the appointments get closer together... nor is it highly recommended. When you are in labor at Kaiser you see whoever is on duty at the time, so there is ''no point'' in having a personal relationship with anyone doctor. However, if you are familiar with several of them from visits... or even just accustomed to seeing a different one each time the lack of previous history with whoever it is on duty comes in handy. I know this sounds horrible to those who have private practice experience, but honestly it was no big ! deal for me.

As far as VBAC friendly goes, I've never met anyone who was antiVBAC at Kaiser. I was given the option with my second to go either way although the Ob wasn't sure that it was a great idea considering the complications from the first c-section. I ended up choosing a second c-section and was actually chastised by an NP at one of the prenatal visits because she thought that was ridiculous. Hope that helps


April 2007

Can you recommend a Gyn. Oncologist with Kaiser? (Oakland, SF, Walnut Creek, other Bay Area location okay too.) I'm BRCA1+ and faced with needing to get my ovaries removed as a cancer prevention measure. I have many issues to decide on still, want some different opinions. So far I'm assigned to Dr. Ciaravino in Oakland. Any info. would be helpful. I'm also looking to meet other women who have had to deal with BRCA+ issues too. If you or anyone you know is dealing with this, maybe we could share info and support. Thank you. maxine


Dr. Erica Breneman is a wonderful ob/gyn located at the Oakland Kaiser facility. I have seen her for the past 5 years and have found her to have a warm and friendly bedside manner, as well as strong medical expertise. She is one of the few doctors I've had who actually listens and takes your questions and concerns seriously. I can't recommend her more highly. The only caveat is that she may be hard to get assigned to. Best of luck. Brightstar


Jan 2007

Does anyone have any experience with the following OB/GYNs at Kaiser Oakland? Eve Zaritsky, Renee Perry, Ivy Yu, Bindoo Rellan. They are the only ones who currently have open panels. Any comments appreciated. Thanks. Cynthia


Bindo Rellan is the name on my birth control prescriptions but I really see Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Avery and I like her. Down to earth and friendly. There are lots of NPs who might be easier to see than an actual OB/GYN. See previous recommendations on the website for some other names. anon


Hi there, My comment about Bindoo Rellan doesn't seem to have made it onto the archives yet. I had a terrible experience with her at a regular yearly pap appt. She was aloof about my questions then saying ''let's discuss this while we do your exam''. Also, I had noted that I wanted to discuss pregnancy because I was thinking about becoming pregnant in the next year. She asked me what question I had (as though I must have a specific concern) and didn't ask me any questions at all. I felt as though she thought it was a dumb thing to want to discuss with your doctor!! Am currently pregnant and with NP Arnoux. Not 100% sure of her, but don't know who else to try. Hope to also see reviews of Eve Zaritzky and the others! Pregnant & Searching at Kaiser Oakland


I had a very similar experience with Bindoo Rellen at Oakland Kaiser as another poster. She was uncommunicative and became callous and clearly annoyed when I tried to ask questions. This was after having an abnormal papsmear result and follow-up colposcopy. In fact I cried after talking with her, which is not a typical reaction for me.

I have been seeing Dr. Jaime Barraza since then who I have found acceptable... he is much kinder and responsive by comparison. However, I have had OB/GYN's in the past that I felt more compatible with.

Someone also mentioned NP Rebecca Avery, and my experience with her was good. Anon


Feb 2007

Can anyone recommend an open, natural-birth supporting, female primary care physician, OB/GYN, or nurse at Kaiser Oakland? I have been told that having a good one at Kaiser makes all the difference. Thanks in advance for your advice! New and Bewildered Kaiser Patient


Cheryl Brown has been my OB/GYN nurse practitioner for years. I have been very happy with her. She has referred me to M.D.s when necessary but otherwise is the health care provider I see regularly in the OB/GYN department. She is open minded, progressive and easy to talk to. Kaiser Oakland patient


Hi - I love Kaiser. Through my pregnancy I saw a OB/GYN specialist Nurse Practitioner named Cheryl Brown (RN) and I continue to see her now as my primary care GYN. B/C my age I was considered a high risk pregnancy (at 30-40), but was very healthy and had an easy pregnancy in general. I really like Cheryl, she is easy going, very experienced, matter of fact, easy to talk to. I did not have any special issues or preconceptions about how my pregnancy should be- neither idealistic or fearful. I worked with her on writing a birth plan, she was open to my desires and had good advice about writing it (KEEP IT FLEXIBLE!)

My experience at Kaiser is that they are cautious and have some pretty rigid protocols in place that they follow. This includes advice and hands on treatment. It might be that there is something in your medical history that calls for a sonogram... or it might be the earlier in the pregnancy a ''picture'' is taken of the fetus the more accurate they can be at estimating how far along you are and when your due date is. I found out I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant... not the 7 weeks I thought... after my first sonogram. Big difference!

To address your concerns about delivering at Kaiser-Oakland. I had a great experience there, considering how long my labor was (35 hours start to end). The docs are residents, so you get who you get, but the heavy lifting is done by the delivery nurses. I had a very experienced doula - Linda Jones Mixon, who I highly recommend!) My nurses were both trained as nurse- midwives, and also advocated for me with the resident doctors. However, the docs were the final arbiters and presented me with the hard choices (when to start pictocin, if I should get an epidural or use other pain meds, etc) The nurses (and the docs to a lesser degree) fully supported my desire for natural childbirth, but were pretty straightforward with their advice about when they thought I was getting tired and with explaining my options. I ended up getting pitocin, and using a single (but blessedly powerful) dose of an opiate derivative pain killer... it let me ''zone out'' from the pain for a while and get needed rest, but let me get back on my feet to labor while standing upright...I am convinced this was key to avoiding a c-section. Again, the nurses were totally awesome through this. The attending physician delivered my daughter. The residents watched and stitched me up. They were all women, and the ''repaired and rebuilt'' me to Lindsey Wager standards....better stronger...hehehe...you get the idea.

My experience on the ''new mama and baby'' at Kaiser-Oakland was also really good. My follow-up appointments with Cheryl Brown have been good too. She remembers who I am, I've had continuity of care, she is really great. IN many respects, Kaiser of Oakland is the ''pick of the best'' Kaiser has to offer... in the opinion of a friend of mine who is a Kiser OBGYN in a nameless city in a more easterly area of California.

Hope that answers your questions. Oh BTW-- I do have a GP rec as well: I see an Internist/GP for other general medicine issues, who I started seeing while pregnant: his name is Dr. Arthur Bakel, He's also really good. anon


Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2006

August 2006

I've checked the listings and there are some good recommendations but some of the staff are new and some (like Dr Tucker) aren't doing deliveries these days. Current recommendations are welcomed and highly appreciated. I most likely will have to have a c-section, have placenta previa, baby is breech at the moment, am an older mom and had a previous miscarriage. I am in my 6th month and am just transferring to Walnut Creek since I will be closer there when on maternity leave. Thank you!!!!!!! anon


Dr. James Sakamoto (Oakland Kaiser) is WONDERFUL! He was in private practice for years in Berkeley, but just last year joined Kaiser. Gentle bedside manner, extremely skilled, remarkably attentive (he called me at my home twice during a treatment period, once on New Year's Day to see how I was doing). I have two very good friends who had both their children delivered by Dr. Sakamoto; they practically worship him. He's lovely Linda


June 2006

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Kaiser Oakland OB/Gyn? Kim


I absolutely LOVE my Kaiser OB \x96 Laura Lynn Minikel, MD. I can\x92t recommend her enough. She is so easy to talk to and very knowledgeable. My husband and I both adore her. She helped me through my first pregnancy with ease. Another OB that I have been to in the past and my mom goes to is Lisa Gayle Sherman, MD. She is really great as well. Go to the Kaiser Website http://www.kaiserpermanente.org/ check out the Medical Staff Directory/OBGYN/Oakland Kaiser and you can see pics and bios of all of the docs MS


Hi, This is a response to both the request for a Kaiser Oakland Ob and a high risk Ob.

I had a high risk pregnancy. I'm 40 with a cervical abnormality from DES exposure and developed gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and depression. Dr. Ruth Olweny at Kaiser Oakland was wonderful. She is in the last year of her residency there. As of May 2006, she was accepting new patients. I started having post-partum depression, while still pregnant, due to the stress of the physical complications. She coordinated with my psychiatrist and managed my physical problems so I that I was able to carry to full term. During labor, my son went into fetal distress from his cord compressing, and we had to have an emergency c-section. She got him out in 2 minutes flat. He's perfectly normal now and worth everything I went through.

I'm not the easiest patient in the world, but she handled me and my conditions in an extremely reassuring manner. I would highly recommend her. I have selected her as my primary Ob/Gyn at Kaiser from now on anonymous


I like Rebecca Avery, Nurse Practitioner. She is very nice and normal. I have seen her for several years for my annual appointments and for my prenatal care. (I am sure you know that when you actually deliver a baby at Kaiser you get whoever is on duty.) Happy with Rebecca


I really liked Laura Minikel MD


Ob/Gyn Reviews from 2005 and earlier

Oct 2005

Any recommendations or advise/experience would be highly appreciated. I recently had a miscarriage 10 weeks and D & C (am still trying to cope with it) and wondered if anyone had a similar experience and was seeing Dr Bullick and how his care/expertise was concerning this issue.


Dr. Bullick was not my treating OB during my pregnancy (I saw perinatalogist Dr. Walton because I was pregnant with twins) but he was the attending physician on duty when I was hospitalized with preeclampsia. He performed my C-section the next day and has done my follow-up care. My initial impression was that he was a bit stiff, but through repeated interactions (minor complications post-delivery and 2 annual gyn visits) I've found him to be warm and caring (and to actually have a sense of humor, despite my initial impression). I would recommend him. happy Kaiser patient


July 2005

I was diagnosded today by a Obgyn doctor at Kaiser having very big Fibroides and she recommended Hystrectomy. I was disgusted by her lack of sensitiveness and didn't care about how I feel. Her attitude toward Hysterectomy was she likes it because is clean and short. She thinks Hysterectomy is better choice than just removing Fibroides since 25% of it comes back. I am looking for a better doctor in Kaiser who I can trust and be able to engage, who has experiences in treating fibroides without Hysteroctomy. Please let me know if anyone knows a good doctor. Tae


I have been seeing Laura Minikel, M.D. at Kaiser Oakland and have found her to be very competent, personable and sensitive. Her profile on her Kaiser website (http://www.permanente.net/doctor/lauralminikel/) states, ''I also am particularly interested in fibroid management and treatment, specifically Uterine Artery Embolization.'' So, she might be great to see for a second opinion. Chris


I suppose you're looking for a western obgyn, but just to let you know, Chinese Medicine has very good results with fibroids. In Berkeley, I suggest Nancy Rakela, OMD. 510.526.6029 www.nancyrakela.com Best, student of Chinese Medicine


July 2005

I just found out that I am pregnant and my company recently switched to Kaiser. I've been assigned to NP, Dela Riva in Oakland. Anyone have any experience with her? I'm totally new to the system and have read the postings which make me a bit nervous. I've been having sleepless nights wondering if all is going to be ok, because my mom had a bad experience at Kaiser Oakland (burst appendix in the hospital and incorrect diagnosis beforehand). Any further advice and recent recommendations would be highly appreciated. Is it normal to have an appt scheduled a month after calling? I am 44 yrs old and had a c- section at Alta Bates for my first baby. Anon


I work at Kaiser - Regional offices, and not more than 15 minutes ago, had a conversation with an employee that sees NP De La Riva and she loves her. I work with her indirectly but see another NP at Kaiser Oakland. Anyway, my coworker says she won't see anyone else, she says NP de la Riva is very competent and very personable and you will have a great experience with her. Hope this helps. Lena


I had two appointments with Gabriela Dela Riva at the end of my pregnancy, when my regular NP was out of town. I liked her a lot: straight-talking, but also thoughtful. Almost considered switching, but didn't bother in the end.

If you want to see another Kaiser NP, though, just ask and they'll schedule you. Ditto, I think, if you have a specific reason for being seen earlier.

Kaiser can look more off-putting to outsiders than it is in practice. Depends on how you think about pregnancy and delivery. Any moment I needed things checked out, a test was scheduled quickly. I went through moments of feeling deprived about not having ''my'' doctor in the delivery room. But in the end, it didn't matter as much as I was building it up to. Nota bene, we had a doula (who did tell us Kaiser is one reason the Bay Area is the doula capital of America). Cathy


I had twins at Kaiser Oakland in March and my first appointment was with Nurse Dela Riva. Overall, my pregnancy and delivery at Kaiser was great. You are welcome to email me if you'd like to know more about my experience with Nurse Dela Riva and Kaiser Oakland. :) Kathryn


Gabriela Dela Riva was my main OB/GYN provider in Kaiser for many years. I found her very thoughtful, sensitive and considerate. I even talked at length with her about my fears of childbirth before I decided to get pregnant and she was very helpful. She has always been great at explaining things which was important to me and has been very prompt at returning my phone calls. I would definitely recommend her.

I think the key to working well within Kaiser is being proactive and being sure to ask questions and follow up on things if you have concerns. If you are willing to take this kind of initiative, the care is excellent. I lost my first pregnancy at 18 weeks and I cannot think of anything Kaiser or my doctors could have done to take better care of me. I'm now 8 months pregnant with my second and again, I have been very impressed and plan to give birth at Kaiser Oakland. Good luck with your pregnancy and remember, if for some reason Gabriella DelaRiva isn't a good fit for you, you can request a change, but I personally think you will be in very good hands. - Happy Kaiser Member


Gabriella is my nurse practioner and has been for a while. I have seen her for many years for my annual exams and saw her during my pregnancy (My daughter was born in Sept. 2004). She's awesome. She was very helpful in answering any questions/concerns that came up for me. As far as scheduling appts., my first one was far out but after that you schedule them before you leave and I found it wasn't too difficult to get what I wanted. I had a fine experience at Kaiser. I found their birthing class to be helpful and most of the staff at the hospital was helpful. My baby was born right after they opened started doing deliveries again, so there were a few communication type glitches to work out, but that was almost a year ago. And it was nothing that I felt took away from the quality of the service I received. Feel free eto contact me if you have other questions. Rebecca


I recently delivered my first baby at Kaiser Oakland and had a wonderful experience starting with great prenatal care, excellent prenatal classes and the care and people during my labor and postpartum was wonderful. For prenatal care, I saw Rebecca Avery, NP and Lenore Arnoux, both are very personable and I looked forward to seeing them each month for my check-ups.

The labor and delivery ward at Kaiser Oakland is brand new having brought back these services from Alta Bates and the staff is wonderful. The two labor nurses I had were incredible beyond words to both my husband and me. I had about 20 hours of labor, before a c-section was needed (baby was too big), I felt so taken care of every step of the way, including my 3 days postpartum. I would try the NP you were assigned to and you can change later if you want. tamita


You need to be assertive with Kaiser -- if you think you need to see a practictioner sooner, call for a same day appointment. If you feel like you have a high-risk pregnancy because of your age, talk to the advise nurse. If you have concerns (i.e. blood pressure, gestational diabetes, another c-section) let them know. Once you get in there and see a physician/nurse they are fairly responsive. anon


I just read several really nice reviews of Gabriela de la Riva which are making me wonder if maybe I just saw her on her bad days. She was my NP at the beginning of my pregnancy.

The first couple appointments were fine, but as I got bigger and had more questions, her patience with me seemed to run out. I should say that I was very well informed (reading about pregnancy all the time) and very healthy. At one appointment, the first in my second trimester, she was concerned with my weight gain which was totally normal for the 4th month. I had spent the first three months constantly nauseous and unable to eat at all - of course I was going to gain more than I had in the previous months if I could suddenly eat again! Since she could find nothing unhealthy in my diet, she told me to ''lay off the juice,'' of which I drank one glass each morning as I desperately craved OJ. I found that advice terribly offensive because it meant that not only was she unfamiliar with how well I'd been treating my body (despite my reporting it to her), she was also telling me to ignore my natural craving for healthy food. It also kind of felt like she thought I was being dishonest about my diet, which I find insulting. She told another friend of mine the same thing under the same circumstances. At our next appointment she flat out told me that she couldn't ''answer any more of my questions because our ten minutes was up'' as she walked out of the room.

I can understand frustration on a practioner's part under the Kaiser system which does not allow for much one on one time with patients. I cannot understand a practioner's failure to be more tactful. I was in customer service for years. I am very sensitive to pushiness on the part of a person receiving service; and I can honestly say that I was not asking silly questions or demanding too much attention. Even if I had been, wouldn't that have been my right as a paying Kaiser patient who was pregnant for the first time?

Overall, de la Riva seemed totally insensitive to the kind of pregnancy I hoped to have (natural, informed) and too busy for anything resembling personal attention. Gabriela de la Riva might be ok for a pap smear, but I would never choose for her to be my NP during a pregnancy.

I switched to Lenore Arnoux, NP at Kaiser Oakland. I found her totally personable with a wonderful bedside manner. She was reassuring, responsive and sensitive to my wishes and she always knew who I was! anonymous


I had Gabriela Dela Riva as my NP during my entire pregnancy at Kaiser Oakland and wasn't at all happy with her care. In the beginning she seemed fine, but by the end of the pregnancy I had serious doubts. At every visit she always measured my fundus as ''on target'' and said everything was fine. However, at my 36 week visit, which was with one of the Kaiser OBs because my blood pressure was high, the doctor measured me and immediately said ''This baby is way too small, you're measuring 4 weeks behind.'' He did an ultrasound and confirmed the estimated fetal weight at 4 lbs. My blood pressure continued to be high over the next couple of weeks, and at 38 weeks I was induced because the baby still wasn't growing and it was feared she was in immediate danger.

She was born at 4 lbs 2 oz, just as the OB predicted, and I never had anyone at Kaiser give me an explanation for the discrepancy between Dela Riva's ''normal'' measurements and the OB's immediate assessment that something was wrong. In addition, when I saw my chart, I realized that my blood pressure had been intermittently abnormal starting at my 10 week visit - I was never told this.

I consider myself lucky that I was okay and that my baby was healthy, after a NICU stay. Kaiser's perinatologists were very frank about what could have gone wrong for both of us, but as I said, never had an explanation for the fact that their NP did not diagnose either pregnancy induced hypertension or an IUGR baby.

I know the Kaiser NPs are under significant time pressures when seeing patients, but I don't think that excuses what happened to me. Signed, Lucky Mama


I saw Gabriela Dela Riva once and was very upset afterwards. During my appointment, I requested that I be tested for STDs. Without having an understanding the circumstances surrounding this request, she proceeded to criticize me for what she perceived to be my irresponsible behavior - and for endangering the welfare of my unborn child!

This was not what I was hoping for from a health care professional. I was so taken aback that I didn't have the presence of mind to refute her assumptions, and her manner was such that I did not feel comfortable discussing the matter further. She did end up performing the test, but let me know that my appointment was only supposed to be 10 minutes long, and that I was taking up too much of her time. (I had only enquired about the test - I hadn't demanded she do it then and there!) By the end of the appointment, I felt just awful. I have not been back to see her since.

However, I DID see Lenore Arnoux, whom I found to be warm, competent, and kind. Good luck!

Alameda Mama


June 2005

Does anyone have experience with Dr. Barbara Jung, OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland? She's sounds great on paper! need new doctor


I have heard great things about her, too. In fact, she was recommended to me by a Kaiser M.D. whose 2 kids she had delivered. The problem was that when I tried to see her several years ago, she was not accepting any new patients. If that is still the case, I would highly recommend Dr. Laura Minikel as an alternative. She is a younger OB/GYN whose warmth, intelligence and skills have gotten me through several unfortunate pregnancy- related problems and who delivered my son beautifully under emergency circumstances. Good luck in your search. lou


May 2005

I would like to find a new ob/gyn provider at either Kaiser Oakland or Kaiser WC. I am a long-time Kaiser member, and love most everything about the system, but am still not connecting, personally, with any of the ob/gyns that I've met so far, at either facility. I hope to become pregnant soon with baby #2. I have some chronic health issues that require regular gynecological care, as well as other health issues that can be troublesome in pregnancy, and for those reasons, I don't qualify to have my care followed by a Nurse Practioner (too bad, b/c I've seen some great ones there). So, I am not looking for NP recommendations right now. I'm definitely into low-tech births, and had a terrific one for baby #1. It's not crucial to me that the doctor is also supportive of this (b/c I know that residents deliver at oakland anyway), but mostly I would like someone who is personable, knowledgeable and treats pregnancy as a natural process, rather than a medical one, per se. Can I find that in a Kaiser doctor? I would love to hear that I can!


I have had a wonderful experience with my OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. Her name is Laura Minikel (sp?), and she worked with me through most of my pregnancy. Due to a heart condition, I chose to give birth in a hospital and receive antibiotics, but she was very supportive of my desire to limit all other invasive procedures and medications. She was very clear about my rights as a patient and how to communicate them to the residents. She always managed to work me into her schedule (even when receptionists claimed her day was booked), returned my calls promptly, and was thrilled to meet my baby. I hope she has space for another patient! Happy at Kaiser


I saw a great OB MD at Kaiser Oakland during my complicated pregnancy (I had a very severe case of hyperemesis). I loved Dr. Laura Minikel, personable, supportive, laid back and generally thinks midwives are wonderful. The only trick is her panel is often full. Good luck! Stephanie


I've seen a resident in OB/GYN Oakland Kaiser for the care of my first pregnancy. I really liked her and am happy to hear she was offered a permanent position in the department. Her name is Dr.Solano-Shaffer. I'm going through a second pregnancy now, and have been meeting w/ a nurse practioner and Dr. Walton. He is also very personable and actually kind of funny. I believe he's a perinatologist, so I'm not sure if he see's patients who are have routine pregnancies. Good Luck Tracie


Also recommended:

  • Dr. Rahim Kaiser Alameda

    2004 & Earlier


    June 2004

    I just moved to Oakland and am 18 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I started prenatal care with a great midwife, however, our insurance will be changing to Kaiser HMO as of July 1st. I am looking for a midwife/OB that supports low tech births and will support me in my effort to have a natural childbirth. I have referred to previous postings on the website, however, am looking for something more current. I would appreciate your expertise! And is it true that if you deliver at Oakland Kaiser that a resident will be the one delivering? Christy


    You won't get a doctor for prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland unless you're risk or need special care. That said, I highly recommend nurse practitioner Rebecca Avery for your prenatal care. No fuss, no muss. Check her out. She'll explain the attending physicial policy - I know it will be changing when they move back to Oakland for deliveries. Happy w/Rebecca
    If you want to have a midwife within the Kaiser system, you'll need to travel to Kaiser Walnut Creek. A staff of a dozen or so midwives complemeted by OBs perform prenatal care there, as well as deliver babies (unless an emergency happens, when an OB will be called in.) Yes, it is true that if you deliver at Kaiser Oakland (or Kaiser contracted with Alta Bates until the fall of this year), you will most likely be delivered by a resident. That didn't appeal to me at all! So when I was pregnant with my son 3 years ago, I had my routine care at my usual Kaiser (Richmond in my case), but I delivered at Walnut Creek. It was a wonderful experience! My labor was so long that I had three midwives, and each of them was excellent-- especially the last one, midwife Loraine (I think?) Rose- Lerman, who coached me through 3+ hours of pushing. She did a fantastic job of coaching, and she did a medically superior job sewing up me up afterwards, with what was a pretty huge tear. She and the whole staff there were extremely respectful of my wishes to have a natural birth, to try to avoid episiotomy, etc., and even though it didn't work out that way, I thought they remained respectful and non-judgmental when my wishes changed. I am pregnant again with my second and am planning to have this baby at W.C. too. You can take the birthing room tour at the hospital and they will give you some materials about the midwives and their system to help you decide. Good luck! Cheri
    If you want to continue with midwife care, Kaiser-Walnut Creek has a nurse-midwife program. The midwives work with the OBs and if you prefer a midwife delivery they will try to honor your preference, although in the end it depends somewhat on who is available when you deliver and the type of delivery you have. Although we received pre-natal care from an OB (Francis Wright who was fantastic), our baby was delivered by a midwife who was great. Although I opted for an epidural, I have friends who have had natural births there. There are no OB residents at Kaiser-Walnut Creek, if that makes a difference. Good luck with your decision. Happy new mom
    September 2003

    Hi, I am looking for an ObGyn doctor at Kaiser Oakland. The postings in he website are quite old (2001) and I was wondering if I could get more recent recommendations. I am very shy, so I would rather have a woman; and being a scientist myself I like the doctor to be straightforward, but gentle. As a teenager I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary disease. I haven't been tested for that again and would like to, a doctor experienced on PCOS would be ideal. Thank you Mariel


    I highly recommend Caryn Rybcynski at Oakland Kaiser-- she is warm and knowledgeable. I like here energy-- very woman positive, and she also works in the fertility dept, so she can give you info about PCOS....... Kate
    Hi there. I have been very pleased with Dr. Laura Minikel. Although she is a younger physician, she is compassionate, knowledgeable, and handles difficult situations with respect and care. I was seeing her for basic GYN exams, and she was great, but she really proved herself when I suffered an incomplete miscarriage at 10 weeks and she had to present some hard choices about D She was also skilled in including my husband in the decision-making and was able to comfort us both without being too emotional and making a bad situation feel worse. I have been really impressed so far with the Oakland OB/GYN services. Good luck. lou
    I highly recommend Dr. Erica Brennemen. She's smart, sweet, understanding, energetic, non-judgemental, gentle. She listens and will work with you. I've known her since college in 1983 and she's been my ob/gyn since 2000. And she has an excellent reputation with her colleagues. You can't go wrong with Erica! Deena
    My OBGYN is Caryn Rybcynski and she is fantastic. She is very knowledgable and extremely thoughtful and caring. I recently had a miscarrage and she was extremely supportive through this. Due to the miscarrage I also saw Dr. Brennermen and she was also extremely wonderful through the whole process. lisa
    Over the course of two pregnancies I have seen several of the ObGyn's at Kaiser in Oakland. I will try to make comments on the ones whose names I remember.

    My regular gynecologist is Dr. Judith Lamberti who I think is great, has lots of experience, and is very clear, but doesn't do OB appointments. I trust her completely.

    Several of my prenatal apts were with Dr. Juan Guerra. I was initialy apprehensive about having a male dr, but since there isn't a lot of disrobing going on in a monthy OB appointment I thought I would give it a try. He actually was very nice, however since he came to Kaiser from private practice he gave us some misleading information about scheduling our c-section that caused a problem later. I really liked Dr. Rybczynski who was recommended in the last newsletter. She was very personable, and easy to talk to. My first son was delivered by Dr. Lamberti working with Dr. Ben Rodgers who was a resident at the time. He did all of my follow up care at Alta Bates. I have to say that of all of the drs who examinied me during my 29 hr labor he was the best. I know he was still with Kaiser Oakland last year... I saw him in the halls.

    I don't know if any of thses OBs specialize in the type of gyn that you were interested in. I would guess that if you have a particular issue it would be best to go with one of the more experienced drs like Dr. Lamberti. It is my experience that if she thinks one of the younger ones will do a good job she lets them take over the patient, but if not, she sticks with you to make sure you get the best care. Rose


    2001

    I'm looking for a new gynecologist at Kaiser, preferably at the Oakland branch. I've seen about four ob/gyns there, and the only one I really liked has left. The one most recommended is only doing fertility work now. I'd prefer a woman, and I need someone prepared to deal with hormonal problems that go beyond the usual. And gentle with the speculum!


    I don't have experience in extensive hormomal needs but can highly recommend 2 Nurse Practioners there; Vivian Zee and Elizabeth Wang. Good luck to you.
    Try Anne O'Connor. I love her. She's particularly wonderful if, like me, you're a little suspicious of the medical establishment. I give her very high marks. J.
    Can anyone give me a recommendation of an excellent OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland? Similarly, can anyone advise about whom to avoid? I am 12 weeks pregnant and I have heard some good and some not so good things about the quality of care there. ] Any thoughts would be appreciated. Erin
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I would highly recommend Linda Franz NP at Kaiser Oakland. I've seen her for 6 years and have been very pleased with her care. I do not know if you she taking new patients. Heather
    I have had a great experience with Caryn Rybcinski (spelling is approximate!). I am having twins in a couple of weeks, and I needed some hand holding in the beginning of the pregnancy. She has an excellent way of being very informative without making me more anxious. At the first appointment, I must have had 10 to 15 questions for her. I warned her I had a lot of questions and she answered them all cheerfully, and then said, Is that it? That was nothing -- my last patient must have asked 20 questions! I recommended her to a friend who is having a high risk pregnancy, and when a crucial test came back negative (i.e., no problem), Dr. R. called my friend personally to tell her how happy she was for her. I have been really pleased with Dr. R., and I have not had trouble getting timely appointments. Philippa
    I received all of my prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland, mostly from Yvette Beasley, NP. She was great, open to all of my concerns and questions. I also saw Vivian Zee, NP (I think), she was also good. You will see an MD only once unless you have complications. I found the NPs to be more attentive. As for MDs, Austin was good. One word of advice, get weighed on the same scale each time. It will ensure that you really know what your weight gain is. Good Luck Joelle
    I have gone through two (happily uneventful) pregnancies, nine years apart, with Nurse Practitioner Linda Frantz. She's also been my GYN for the past fifteen years or so, and I just think she's wonderful. She is warm, straightforward, responsive and very patient. I felt very safe and secure with her as my guide through pregnancy. Avi
    I had all of my prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland (my daughter is now 9 months old). It was my experience that they thought it was not necessary that you see the same person for all of your prenatal care. None of the people that you see at Oakland will be there at Alta Bates (where you will deliver) unless there are complications and then you may see one of the high risk doctors. If your pregnancy is normal you will see a NP for all of your visits except one, in which you will meet one of the doctors who will assess you for risk. At the time that I was there, I saw Dr. Antonia Nicosia for my high risk assessment. She seemed very nice and professional , although we didn't have much to discuss since I was doing ok. Once, I saw a male OB at Kaiser and didn't like him at all (he seemed uncomfortable with me, which in turn, made me uncomfortable with him). He was one of the four h.r. doctors. I'm sorry I can't remember his name. As for NPs; the one that I settled on and tried to make all of my appointments with was Zee (I think her first name was Vivian). I liked her because she was very frank and not mushy. There were a few others that were nice, but I don't respond well to soft spoken health professionals, although my partner likes that personality. Another one that seemed very down to earth was Diana Corbin. I had her for my first few appts and didn't continue with her only because she wasn't available when I was. Kaiser is good if you are an independent person. This is not an insult to people who prefer a more relationship driven health system. It's just that, with Kaiser, you have to be your own advocate and you must organize yourself which can be isolating and frustrating, but the up side is once you can work with their system, you can bypass a lot of red-tape. Also, just a side note, the Kaiser doctors that I spoke with that were on call at Alta Bates said that their C-section rates were significantly lower than those of Alta Bates doctors who were not affiliated with Kaiser. They felt that this was due to their system where the Kaiser OBs work in defined shifts. Therefore, none of them have an agenda outside of your care (I had a friend who was rushed through L because her OB was going on vacation in the morning) . Some people objected to the idea of not forming a relationship with a doctor and then knowing that they would be the one to deliver their baby, but I found that in the moment I didn't really care who was doing the delivering.... the nurse who supported me was the one that mattered and I wasn't bothered that I hadn't met her before. I was mostly concentrating on my personal support people. I hope this helps.
    I highly recommend Cheryl Brown, a nurse practitioner at Kaiser Oakland. She shepherded me through my pregnancy with good humor, care, concern and a high level of competency. Unless you are considered a high-risk pregnancy, there isn't much reason to see an OB/GYN, and I must say that the two appts. I had with two different OB/GYNs left me less than impressed (sorry, I don't remember their names). Janet
    Some asked for the name of an OB/GYN physician at Kaiser. Oakland. I have been going to Judith Lamberti for several years. I have found that she is really sensitive to issues that are related to my health and explains them well. In addition, she has a very comforting disposition. I have friends who say the nurse practitioners are really good, but I 'm not familar with them
    Recommendation for Kaiser Prenatal Care. I was surprised at my Kaiser Prenatal care as I only saw a physician once at Kaiser Oakland to assess me for risk. I can't remember who he was but I thought he was rather abrupt and I didn't like him. I really liked the doctor who did the amniocentesis in Hayward. I can't remember his name either except that he was black and seemed really young but he really knew his stuff. I had my first baby when I was 37 at Alta Bates and always saw a physician Dr. Heather Irwin (now retired) or Dr.Rudd (also very good) so I was surprised at always having an NP but I had Vivian Zee, Elvia Perez and a couple others, but they were all really good. I also had a scary episode of bleeding and saw NP Beasley and she was very good. None of these NP's will be at your delivery at ABH. Also, probably none of the MD's who you saw at Kaiser. That didn't matter because even at Alta Bates when I had Dr.Rudd, I had two other doctors from Alta Bates deliver my first baby and I saw Dr.Rudd the next day. I don't even know if the doctor who delivered my baby this time was from Kaiser or Alta Bates although I know that the nurse who first admitted me was with Alta Bates - her name is Greta and she is very good - she used to be an Oncology nurse there and then went to L I happened to have her 5 years ago for my first baby and again for this baby. My baby was admitted to the NICU and I know she was initially seen by the Alta Bates neonatologist - after that I think her neonatologists were with Kaiser - whoever they were with they were very very good. The Dr. that discharged me was young - maybe an OBGYN resident and I'm pretty sure she was from Kaiser. I can say that they really like to have you out in 48 hours - if your baby is sick and in the ICU they do have an overnight room up there for parents, a refrigerator and microwave,a breast pumping roomand a family area with a table where older children can sit and read. They have a few chairs that recline if you want to take a nap by your baby if the baby's condition allows for that. Although I was a Kaiser patient with my second baby, I still feel Alta Bates is one of the best places to have a baby - even more so if your baby might need the NICU services. Cindy
    Re: Breastfeeding Friendly Kaiser ObGyn (July 2003)
    Dr. Laura Minikel is an excellent breast-feeding friendly OB/GYN at Kaiser Oakland. Danielle
    2000

    Dr. Husikowksi has been my OB/GYN for close to 20 years...through two tough pregnancies and some minor problems. He's great!


    Dr. Karen Gamin Thomassen (sp?). She was present during some of the labor and delivery of my daughter 10 years ago, and then performed surgery on my daughter at age 7 3/4 when she had a tumor on her ovary. That was when I had more contact with her. I felt that she was extremely competent, straightfoward, had a good bedside manner, and was easy to talk with. I believe she is still with Kaiser. Good luck. Sarah
    I've seen Yvette Beaseley for the past 3 years and been quite happy with her. She takes time to talk about any questions/concerns and seems very sensitive and competent when doing exams. Amy
    1998

    The nurse practitioner that I see for gynecology is Ann O'Connor. I think that she is very good. When I come in with my list of questions she is really good about letting me go through the list and doesn't rush me when I ask questions. She also is very reassuring and assumes that you know what you are talking about. She also was great about recommending books. I have also seen Yvette Beasly, another Nurse practiontioner, at the Oakland hospital. She was good too. I only see women doctors/nurses, so sometimes it takes a little longer to get an appointment. My sister-in-law always sees a doctor and never has trouble getting appointments because she is willing to be seen by a male doctor... just something to consider. As a patient at Richmond I always saw Cindy St. John (another nurse), and thought that she was good. There was a male doctor who I saw there once. (I cannot remember his name now, but I checked at one point and he was gone.) He was awful. He totally discounted my observations about my body, and was very condescending. Thank god he is gone now!

    I just signed up for a personal physician at Oakland Kaiser this year and I saw Dr Julie Morial she was nice, and I thought she was quite thorough. She took my family health history, gave me an exam, and sent me for a complete blood work up, and then mailed me the results with an explanation. I was impressed.