Sutter Health Ob/Gyns, 2500 Milvia


2500 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704

Also at this address: Sutter Health Primary Care & Sutter Health Pediatrics

  • Ob/Gyns at this practice (as of 2021): Jill Foley, Deepti Gupta, Attia Kadri, Risa Kagan, Nadya Kondrashov, Radhika Madhavan, Onouwem Nseyo, Pantea Pahlavan, Vineela R. Poddatoori, Rebecca Taub, Angelyn Thomas, Kier Van Remoortere, Pavithra Venkat

More Reviews of Sutter Health Ob Gyns 

Parent Q&A

Experience with Sutter Health OBGYNS? Aug 20, 2021 (7 responses below)
OB in UCSF or Sutter for High Risk Pregnancy? May 14, 2021 (17 responses below)
Homebirth friendly OB at Sutter Berkeley Apr 11, 2021 (1 responses below)
OB rec at Sutter East Bay? Jan 29, 2020 (9 responses below)
  • Experience with Sutter Health OBGYNS?

    (7 replies)

    I am almost 13 weeks and have been doing my prenatal care with Sutter Health and was enjoying my experience. However, they have been sitting on my NIPT Results for almost 1 week and my daily calls asking for an OBGYN to review the results and release to me have gone unanswered. I am less than thrilled, not only stressed about the results of my test but also not trusting now that I will receive urgent response when/if I have questions as a first time parent. I am wondering if others have had similar experiences with Sutter Health OBGYNS or whether my experience is a one off? Are there any other Doctors that anyone loved and can recommend? 

    I’ve had two babies at SEBMF on Milvia, both times got my NIPT results right away. However, that means nothing. I would be very frustrated. I’d say keep calling twice a day and messaging in the portal. Escalate to the Clinic Administrator as well. There is no reason they should be delayed. 

    I am 27 weeks and have had a good experience with prenatal care from Dr. Zhang. Her and her team have been very responsive when I’ve had questions. However, I am not planning to do pediatric care through Sutter. My older child and I use One Medical for primary and pediatric care. 

    So sorry you're dealing with this--that's and added stress you definitely don't need right now! 
    For what it's worth, I've had both my babies at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley (a Sutter Health hospital) and love my OBGYN there, Dr. Nguyen. I've also met a bunch of other OBGYNs there and they are all amazing. In my experience, they've been really responsive to messages and phone calls and would usually get back to me within a day. 
    With my last baby (who was born this January), we also didn't receive the results of our genetic screening when we thought we would (we did the CA screening program). I messaged my doctor, they followed up with the CA program and had the results within a week. For whatever reason, the results didn't make it into the online system until about 2 months ago (so AFTER the baby was born...), but we were informed of the results over phone as soon as our doc had them. 
    Hope you receive your results soon and find a doctor who supports you and makes you feel well cared for!

  • OB in UCSF or Sutter for High Risk Pregnancy?

    (17 replies)

    FTM here :) and deciding between UCSF and sutter (Alta bates) for a high risk pregnancy (also did ivf treatment at UCSF).


    1. I did my ivf treatment at UCSF--i know people said it's less personal, very busy, and people don't have lots of time for you..and it took a long time to get appointments/questions answered. But I loved it (note it was during pandemic). Because I like having nurses/doctors--even if  i never saw the same person--- who are steeped in the literature and research, and can explain to me without talking down to me (I am comfortable reading journal articles myself as I'm a researcher by trade and I design research experiments professionally)

    2. I hate the drive, always get carsick, so tried to go with an OB in Sutter. Well, I think my OB is fine clinically - but I was frustrated with our last 2 interactions, and here's why. i) first, my thyroid levels are supposedly suboptimal for pregnancy, but not terribly so ii) I'm at risk for pre-eclampsia.

    My current OB in Sutter just went you know you have to take aspirin? okay just take it then. Then for thyroid issues, I said I haven't done research into this area so don't know anything about this. What is the problem with my thyroid levels and why does it matter for me and the fetus? She went straight into the worst case scenarios (mental retardation etc) while being really impatient. 

    I was a bit alarmed, so went home to read the journal articles and I realized my level were suboptimal but certainly not really that extreme so was kinda annoyed after spending a few hours and days reading up all the different journal articles. 

    Went to UCSF today, and i loved the clinician I saw today! She asked - what dosage I was taking for pre-eclampsia, and explained what dosage she wanted to adjust me to, and why based on the research (whereas the other OB never checked what dosage I was on..and when I dug into the journal articles it corresponds to what she says). She also explained SO clearly to me about my thyroid levels, what levels she would prefer me to be at, and at what levels they would actually worry about the impact to the fetus, rather than just on me.

    The few things that makes me hesitant -

    1) I've rarely avoided a doctor just for bedside manner, most of the time if I switched, its due to carelessness or I actually don't trust their clinical judgement. This time it's a bit more of a grey area.

    2) the drive is awful, and the thought of going back weekly in third trimester because I'm high risk isn't fun :/

    Are there OBs you've have locally who you trust who are keeping up with the latest research and can communicate clearly? 

    I strongly recommend doctor Amy Murtha from UCSF high-risk pregnancy department. She's the head of the department and truly a gem!

    I hope there are others that can recommend a good OB for you locally! I had my twin babies in Seattle, so unfortunately I don’t have a contact down here. However, I had a very high risk pregnancy, (hyperemesis gravidarum, triplets for the first 13 weeks, pneumonia, blood clot, labor contractions starting at 21 weeks) and the good relationships I had with my OBs helped me get through every minute. You’re already being a super-mama. You not only deserve someone with competence and good bedside manner, it’s so important for you and your baby. The drive is a legit obstacle, but only you can decide if it’s a deal breaker. If you haven’t already, ask all your UCSF OB contacts who they would see in the East Bay if they had to find someone here. You may have an ideal pregnancy (I really hope the rest of it goes smoothly and beautifully for you!) but if you have any issues, you want someone who will find the best care for you and your baby, and you need to trust that you can work with them. I fought for every minute of my 35 week, 2 1/2 day pregnancy! None of it was normal! Ugh! BUT, I had 2 amazingly healthy babies at the end, and now I have 2 amazing 13 year olds, healthy and happy most days. I still wish my pregnancy had been easier, but I would do every hard thing over again for my kids. You are being asked a lot already, but you are already showing that you are an amazing mom; care for yourself and your baby. Push to find the best path for you and your baby, even if it’s not the most convenient path. Wishing you all the health through this process!


    Hello!  I commend you on your drive to be up to date on the the current research. I wanted to let you know that I also had a negative experience at Sutter (not Alta Bates) years ago regarding my pregnancy.  I also had issues with my thryoid levels, but felt that instead of actually operating with sound medical research and data, they just made generalized statements, which were meant to provoke fear.  I never had an individualized approach.  The Sutter OB's, at the time, were always fearful of lawsuits and would get defensive if I even asked questions.  Also, none of my concerns were addressed, therefore, it resulted in my going out of the Sutter healthcare to get a 2nd opinion.  I am thankful that I did get a second opinion because I was tired of Sutter's fearful approach that made me go through unnecessary and painful procedures and inductions.  My background was in healthcare and I actually have worked at both Sutter  and UCSF.  For me, I regretted my medical care at Sutter, but this was years ago.  After hearing your experience, I am disappointed that the Sutter's mind-set has not changed.  I know the drive to UCSF is bad, but I would consider if the OB there is knowledgeable and can address your needs. I also believe an OB that does NOT have a fear mindset will be better because these fears will guide their final decision making process.  You said you "loved your clinician" at UCSF.  That speaks volumes on how comfortable you feel.  I would trust your feelings. I hope your pregnancy is uneventful  and happy.

  • I have insurance to have prenatal tests/check ups at Sutter Berkeley but plan to have a home birth. Can anyone recommend a great OB to work with? Also open to East Bay home birth midwife recommendations. Thank you! 

    When I asked Dr. Madhavan at Sutter Milvia about concurrent care, she said they require you to leave their practice if you're planning a homebirth. When I did get pregnant, I had to sign a form attesting that I was not getting care elsewhere and not planning a homebirth. I thought it was so ridiculous, patronizing and completely focused on Sutter's liability not on actually helping moms and babies. I left the practice.

  • OB rec at Sutter East Bay?

    (9 replies)

    I am early on in pregnancy, and Sutter East Bay Medical seems to be my best choice for OB care with regards to insurance and location. There are a lot of OBs in this practice to choose from. Has anybody seen an OB at Sutter Health that they found to be particularly caring, focused, easy-going, capable, etc? Thanks!

    RE: OB rec at Sutter East Bay? ()

    Sutter East Bay is a great choice. Especially Dr Kier van Remoortere who was my OB and who I can’t say enough good things about. She is evidence-based, calm, caring, super smart, and takes plenty of time to explain things and make sure you understand.  Note that unless your birth is a scheduled c-section you won’t necessarily be with your primary doctor for delivery since it will depend on when you go into labor. Though - if you’ve been at the practice for a good part of your pregnancy then you will rotate through various other MDs so that you will have met with most of them when it comes time to deliver. The two Sutter doctors on shift for my delivery were both ones that I had seen during prenatal appointments.

    RE: OB rec at Sutter East Bay? ()

    I really enjoyed Dr Cindy Zhang. She was warm, no-nonsense, evidence-based. The chance of whoever you see during your pregnancy actually being there to deliver is rare so I'd also recommend meeting a few people throughout your pregnancy. The OB who was there for my successful VBAC was someone I had never met before but it was still a great experience (the nurses, your partner/support system really matter more at that point anyway). 

    RE: OB rec at Sutter East Bay? ()

    I’ve been working with Dr. Kondrashov for the past year. She was my OB during and throughout my pregnancy and has been amazing. She’s extremely supportive and very thorough. While she takes all concerns and potential issues seriously, she does not make quick or drastic changes/responses/etc unless absolutely necessary. We’re so grateful to have found her. I also previously worked with Dr Ahsan who was very thorough and straight forward. Two other doctors we saw while I was pregnant who I also liked were Dr. V(can’t remember full last name) and Dr. Padatorri. 

Parent Reviews

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Hello! Earlier this year I had a twisted ovary due to cysts and Dr. Nseyo with Sutter (office at 2500 Miliva street) both diagnosed, and did the laparoscopic surgery to fix the problems. Mine was an emergency and I met her in the ER, and then continued care with her after.

She is communicative, kind, through, and super skilled. I highly recommend her! 

Dr. Kondrashov was my ob for entire pregnancy and I was pleased with my prenatal care. She happen to be on when I was in labor recently and performed my emergency c section for fetal distress. She remained calm, in control, and had my baby out in what seemed like less than a minute. I'm a physician myself and was super impressed with her surgical skills and with the entire team that day, all of whom I credit for saving my son's life. Now I have healthy 10 day old and my incision is healing well. 

I dont know the other doctors you mentioned.  If you have any other questions feel free to message me.

I hope that's helpful!


Hi - 

It sounds like you're a patient at Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation. My primary OB was Dr. Pahlavan (scheduled C for twins), and I loved, loved, loved her. She's got fantastic energy, is compassionate, hears her patients and has a sense of humor. Dr. Pahlavan performed my C section, and Dr. Mehandru assisted. Dr. Mehandru was also on call while I was recovering in the hospital and I saw her for my 2-week checkup. Also highly recommend her as well. Great bedside manner, friendly & knowledgeable. 

My friend's OB was Dr. Kondrashov; I haven't worked with her personally, but do know that my friend enjoyed her as well. 

Hope this helps & good luck

I see Dr. Angelyn Thomas at Sutter Health East Bay (I see her in her office on Milvia, she also sees patient in their Orinda office). She is a Black woman (it was also important to me to have a woman of color OBGYN) and I have seen her since I was in my mid 20s (I am over 40 now).  She is an incredibly competent provider and I have trusted her with my life on more than one occasion. I've seen her for period issues, abnormal bleeding issues, pregnancy and postpartum, and a few other things - she has been stellar in each situation and is also very responsive over their messaging system.  Cannot say enough good things about Dr. Thomas.

Pavithra Venkat supervised my second pregnancy, and I cannot recommend her more highly. Our first birth was ROUGH mainly because of gestational-diabetes-related interventions, including an induction that stretched out for days; when we started Pregnancy #2 and went for our first prenatal appointment w/Dr. Venkat, we told her our birth story and felt like she both listened and truly heard us. She is low-intervention, evidence-based, and very personable and kind. And I'd also second (third?) the other recommendations you're getting here to look into having a doula to help with delivery room support.

You might consider getting a doula for delivery. With most ob practices, when you’re in labor/delivering you’ll see whoever is on call and this may not be the person in the practice you connect with best. A doula stays with you for your entire labor and is there entirely for you—to help you through a crazy/wonderful experience, with comfort measures, and can help make sure there are no miscommunications between you and the nurses and doctors. 

Fwiw, I delivered twice at Alta Bates using the ob/gyns at the 2500 Milvia office of Sutter and had great care both at the hospital and the practice. I mostly saw Dr. Cindy Zhang throughout my pregnancies (and even before) and she is fabulous. In fact, I loved all of the women doctors in that practice. (I saw one man for a check up once and cannot recommend him—forget his name unfortunately.). I also used a doula for both of my births, and it was the right call for me, especially with my first. Best of luck and congratulations!

Hi, I delivered at Alta Bates in January with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation on Milvia. I was very close to my doctor too but she was not the one on call when I went into labor. However, due to the length of my labor I probably pushed with 6 different OB’s in the end, including my own doctor, which is more than half of Milvia’s practice! My own doctor even made an appearance as she happened to come in the next day for a planned Caesarian, and upon hearing I was in labor she came in early. You just don’t know if you’ll be there for 12 or 72 hours so it’s hard to guarantee your OB or midwife no matter what, unless you sign up to do a homebirth. I just wanted to say that I found Milvia fantastic. It is actually the nurse assigned to your room that makes your experience since they are the ones in and out the most, while the OB make an appearance at push time. My nurse was amazing. If you have access to Sutter Milvia I would do it! 

Hi Cristina,

I just had my first baby in August, and I had an amazing experience (I also have Cigna insurance). The OBGYNs at the Sutter Campus on Milvia St. in Berkeley are incredible. I’ve personally seen Dr Thomas and Dr Kondrashov. I trust them completely and think they are respectful, knowledgeable, and include the patient in all decision making. They deliver at Alta Bates hospital also in Berkeley (on the border of Berkeley and Rockridge). The labor and delivery nurses there went above and beyond to give me all of my options, supported me 100% in my labor plan, and made the whole experience very comfortable and smooth. I always felt like I was understood and in control. I would recommend delivering there to everyone.

Let me know if you have questions!

Sara Bourne

I also have Cigna and recently moved back from dc midway through a high-risk pregnancy. I really liked Attia Kadri, and Arzou Ahsan (who ended up delivering) was very skilled and level-headed under pressure — saved at least one of our twins’ lives. Both are at Sutter and deliver at Alta bates.

I very much enjoyed my OB on kid #2, Dr. Attia Kadri. She was particularly good in two respects: in handling follow up testing, when one prenatal test indicated serious issues, and in communicating efficiently with me when I needed to travel abroad for work. She is part of a large practice, so I ended up meeting many of the female OBs in the Sutter team, and was generally pleased. I love our pediatrician, Dr. Grace So from Berkeley Pediatrics, but do not believe she is taking new patients.

Kier Van Reemoortere is great!!! i give her all the credit for my not having a c-section. 

I recommend Dr. Van Remoortere at sutter health in Berkeley. she was my OB while i was pregnant. She has a great bedside manner and is super knowledgeable.

I believe at alta bates you are not able to choose the ob who will delivery your baby. it will be whoever is working in labor and delivery that day. Dr Thomas delivered my emergency c section and she did an excellent job.

We are LOVING Dr. Pavithra Venkat at Sutter (delivers at Alta Bates). We did the "Sutter doctor bingo" approach w/our first child 3 years ago and while everything turned out fine, we did end up feeling a little disjointed w/continuity of care during the pregnancy and like we didn't really care which doctor delivered the baby (we ended up w/a longer L&D stay and so were interacting w/several doctors we'd not met and didn't care AT ALL). Dr. Venkat never makes you feel rushed, is very responsive to questions and seems really committed to trying to help clients have the experience they want. A friend who had a really traumatic first birth experience also delivered w/her (scheduled C-section) for Baby #2 and gives her nothing but the highest praise.

I just delivered a VBAC at Alta Bates with Dr. Kier Van Remoortere at the Berkeley campus of the Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation. I was very happy with her throughout the pregnancy, and then I was lucky in that she was on-call during my delivery as well and I had a great experience with her then too. I had a few complications during pregnancy, and I found that the Sutter system was well-integrated with respects to referrals, sharing information, etc. Since it's a big practice, there's no guarantee that you'll have your doctor of choice for the actual delivery, but I was pretty happy with each of the 4 OBs I saw during my pregnancy (out of 14).

Dr. Arzou Ahsan at Sutter Health is wonderful. I had surgery done by her and she was with me through my pregnancy also. Doctors and nurses always sang her praises when they knew that was who my OB was. I've heard two things consistently, "Isn't she the best?" And, "If I were getting surgery done, I'd want her to do it." Hearing these comments always made me feel more confident that I was in the right hands.

Dr. Proehl is relatively new to the group and was amazing at my unmedicated labor. She has midwife training and was so positive.  

Dr. Van Remoortere and Dr. Zhang are both great as well. 

Highly recommend all three of them. 

Just an FYI if you are interested in seeing Dr. Jewell at Sutter East Bay she is no longer with the practice. There are many other excellent doctors at SEB though (I am delivering in May) Dr. Van Ramoortere and Dr. Venkat are my two recs thus far. 

Another vote for Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation on Milvia in Berkeley. My OB is Dr. Ahsan, but Dr. Kadri delivered my baby two months ago. I also saw two other OBs three when Dr. Ahsan was out, everyone was fantastic! For Pediatrician, I go to the same office on Milvia and see Dr. Swearingen. I love the location because there is plenty of free parking and the building is new and clean. 

Dr. Kier VanRemoortere or Dr. Elisabeth Scheunling

Anyone at this practice is great.  

I gave birth in November.  Best of luck. 

Check out the Sutter OB office on Milvia. Dr Jewell is amazing, and the whole practice is strong. They got me through a 48hr labor w/o a c section. Our pediatrician is in Castro Valley bc we don’t live as close to Berkeley now, so that’s probably not as helpful to you. 

Good afternoon. 

For OB, Sutter Health East Bay. Located on Milvia street. I saw a handful of doctors while pregnant but my main doctor was Dr Kadri. Delivered at Alta Bates. 

For pediatrician, any of the doctors at Primary Pediatrics Oakland. We see Dr Bruce Horowitz but saw others in the hospital and recommend.

Hope this helps!


RE: Gynecologist ()

I recommend Dr. Zhang at Sutter on Dwight/ Milvia in Berkeley.

RE: Gynecologist ()

Dr. Arzou Ahsan is personable, kind, thorough, and exceptionally intelligent.

RE: Gynecologist ()

I've only seen her a couple of times, but I like Pantea Pahlavan in Berkeley. She's with Sutter.

My OBGYN is Dr Pavithra Venkat who I can't speak highly enough of - she's warm and personable but also methodical and spends a good amount of time answering your questions. She shares call with a bunch of other highly competent drs, and my baby ended up getting delivered by Dr. Poddatoori who is also amazing. I think the only person I didn't end up gelling with is funnily enough the male dr on staff, everyone else is fantastic. You'd deliver at Alta Bates Berkeley if you go with them. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Notes: Some of the doctors in this practice were previously at 2850 Telegraph Avenue. Some were previously at Berkeley Orinda Women's Health (see this page for reviews prior to 2010.)  Other notes:  Dr. John Girard passed away in Feb 2015; James Sakamoto now practices at Kaiser Vallejo;  Kurt Wharton now has his own practice.

Dec 2014

RE: moving to Oakland, need an ObGyn

I would recommend my OB/GYN, Dr. Elizabeth ''Betsy'' Kanwit, 2850 Telegraph Avenue, Suite
120, in Berkeley. The phone is 510/204-8190. According to her website, she is accepting
new patients:

I have seen Dr. Kanwit for over ten years, and am very happy with her. She answers all my
questions, and is very knowledgeable.
She practices in a group of women OB/GYNs, and on occasion I have seen one of the other
doctors there, and have been very satisfied with them as well. Lori 

Nov 2011

Re: Gynecologist for 18 year old daughter
I can't say enough good things about Dr. Ahsan at the OB/Gyn practice on Telegraph. She's young, hip, easy to talk to and very caring. My 21 year old daughter and I both go to her. The number for that practice is: 510-845-8047. Happy Patient

Nov 2010

Re: Berkeley ObGyn that partners with a midwife
It's very difficult to find an OB-GYN that works directly with a midwife; however, I was really happy with Drs. Arzou Ahsan, Dr. Jill Foley and Dr. Marilyn Honegger. I've seen all three of them.

There is a midwife on staff in their practice as a nurse but she doesn't practice as a midwife anymore.

Overall the doctors in the group I just listed are competent and definitely where you want to be if something goes wrong. Downside: they have like 10 doctors in their practice, so you have a 10% chance of having your doctor at delivery. Upside: if it's important for you to know your delivering doctor, you can play doctor roulette with appointments and get to know more than one. Good luck! new mom

Nov 2010

Re: Need good gynecologist for heavy bleeding issues
Sorry to hear about your bleeding issues, and I can recommend Dr. Risa Kagan. She has a wonderful bedside manner,is highly knowledgeable in women's health issues, and best of all, gives me the peace of mind to know that whatever changes my body is going through, I'm not alone~ she is sincere and caring, and very busy.Dr. Kagan is located in Berkeley and Lafayette. The office phone number is (510)204-8190. Hope this helps! Denise

Nov 2010

Re: Need good gynecologist for heavy bleeding issues
I have a similar medical history and have been very happy with my WONDERFUL female OB/GYN named Arzou Ahsan. She performed a hydro thermal ablation procedure on me a few years ago. our family has to change to Kaiser starting January 1st and I am so terribly sad that I won't be seeing Dr. Ahsan anymore. been there before

Oct 2010

Dr. Poddatoori - Does anyone have any experience with her? I just moved to Berkeley and she was the only doctor with availability at Sutter East Bay. Am pregnant so need a doctor soon! Anon

Dr. Poddatoori was not my OBGYN (I had Dr Thomas) but she was the one on shift when I delivered my 2nd child. It was an uncomplicated labor and delivery (unlike my 1st child) and she was good. She is young and newer to the profession. When she came in (and I was in heavy heavy labor - at 10 cm) my insane pain was put on hold for a millisecond by the thought of - who is this child? can she possibly be a doctor?! Ha. All that to say that she is young (and I am only 30) which has both its benefits and its drawbacks. She allowed my bag of water to break on its own, (most doctors do not want to deal with splashing on them) which I took as an indication of her progressive practice. She also tugged too hard, too quickly on the cord after my daughter was born (my husband is a nurse, and he was bothered by this) which meant part of the placenta tore off and she had to go through the EXTREMELY painful process of reaching inside of me to pull it out. So I think her newness has its benefits and drawbacks, but overall I thought she was a good doctor, and had a nice, warm demeanor. 

June 2010

Re: Looking for an ObGyn
Although I have always had a female OBGYN (or their nurse practitioner as was often the case), Dr Girard of Orinda and Berkeley (male, can't remember first name)delivered my second child. I switched to him as my OBGYN and could not be happier. He is the first doc I have had that spends time listening. He sits me down in his office (while I am still dressed like a normal human) for about 10 minutes before each checkup to talk about how I am feeling, any changes, etc. He was a fabulous delivery doc but since I will not be having any more kids, I appreciate him even more for taking the time to explain changes to 50 year old bodies, etc. He is a character and may not be for everyone, but he appears to have genuine compassion for people and an intellectual curiosity and love for his line of work. Big Orinda office impersonal but lots of great backup docs if emergencies: 510/845-4200 best doc I ever had

April 2010

Re: OB with great bedside manner
I would highly recommend Dr. John Girard. He is with Berkeley Orinda Women's Health though I think he only sees patients in Orinda these days. He has always made me feel completely at ease and he always makes me laugh. He is honest, concerned and just has that touch. I completely trust what he says and what he does. I've also seen the other doctors in his group during my two pregnancies and everybody has been fantastic. Good luck. Anon

April 2010

Re: OB with great bedside manner
I highly recommend Alice Cannan, NP. She is incredibly knowledgeable and has a really kind and informative style. I wouldn't go to anyone else - I've rearranged my primary care around her! 2915 Telegraph Avenue #200 (between Howe St & Ashby Ave) Berkeley, CA 94705 Warmly, Laura

Dec 2009

Re: gynocologist that has a good knowledge of breast health
I can highly recommend Dr. Richard Rudd to be your OB/GYN. He is quite knowledgeable (you will be in very competent hands!) and best of all - he has the most fantastic, warm bedside manner. He doesn't rush patients, he answers all your questions, he is so gentle and thoughtful. I know you will love having him take care of your OB/GYN needs! Stay healthy, CDH

Dec 2009

Re: Twin childbirth classes?
In addition.....i am scheduled to see Dr. Arzou Ahsan for prenatal care and would like to hear current experiences with her and her practice with regards to natural delivery,and, if any twin moms out there have had her as their OB and how she was for you. thanks! Really, twins?!

I can't speak to child birth classes, but I can definitely speak to a twin birth and Arzou Ahsan. I love Dr. Ahsan. She has been my OB/GYN for years. She has seen me through two pregnancies and delivered my twins. Unfortunately (for me) I had to have a c-section for the twins, but she was so completely supportive and knew that I did not want to go that route (my first was born at Alta Bates with a doula and no epidural). She waited until the last minute to schedule the c-section to see if my situation would change. It did not, and she was great throughout the entire process. I could not have asked for a better doctor. I highly recommend her. If you want to speak off network, feel free to email me. On an unrelated note - I also recommend joining Twins by the Bay - great resources and amazing support.

Dr. Ahsan wasn't my doctor and I never met her, but she is in the practice I worked with, and I've had experiences with most of the other docs. (Any of which, depending on who's on duty that night/day, might deliver your baby). There's one doc I don't like, but the others are really good. Dr. Thomas (who I hadn't met before that day) delivered my twins vaginally (though I did have an epidural, due to needing to be induced w pitocin after water breaking). They all seem to have a fair amount of twin experience in that practice and everyone was supportive of my desire to have a vaginal birth (if the babies were head down, which they were).

Good luck! And be sure to join twins by the bay or your local twins group-- it really helps! proud mama of twins

Nov 2009

Re: Looking for a great OB-GYN
I would recommend Dr. Arzou Ahsan and Dr. Katarina Lanner-Cusin, of Sutter East Bay Physicians Med. Group. I have seen both of them in my two pregnancies. I don't know your concerns, but I was worried about my second delivery (trying for a VBAC). They reviewed my history from my previous birth and helped give me good information about my options. They are both very kind and comfortable, very wonderful doctors. anon

Dr. Ahsan is a great OB-Gyn doctor. She is very sharp and smart, yet very compassionate. Also Dr. Huibonhoa is an excellent doctor. She is female. Try these two doctors to interview first! anon

I wanted to comment on the recommendation for Sutter East Bay Physicians Med. Group. Be mindful that this is a sizeable practice in terms of the number of doctors that could potentially be on call when you deliver. I became a patient of an excellent doctor in that practice, who has rave reviews on the BPN. Not until almost my due date did I find out that their on call schedule is shared with another doctor's office, essentially doubling the number of doctors you might end up with at delivery. So even if you meet all of the doctors at Sutter East Bay, you still might not ever even see the doctor who ends up helping you with delivery if the on call schedule has a doctor from the ''sister'' practice. This is what happened to me, and I had some very life threatening complications from my C-section. To this day, I don't know how much of those complications had to do with the doctor I had never met, or just the general ''hazards'' of an unplanned C-section.

Additionally, there is one doctor in Sutter East Bay that I would REALLY steer clear of. She gave me flat out wrong information about my health, and she had terrible and painful technique for the few physical procedures I had to endure from her. She's the one who will always have an opening in her schedule when the other doctors are booked. Based on my miserable experience with her alone, I couldn't risk ever having her be on call with a future pregnancy.

So I switched to Dr. Nishimine, who rarely uses backup, and is known to be an excellent surgeon. Because if I'm able to have a second pregnancy, it will need to be a C-section. He's right across the street from Alta Bates. You know you're in good hands when the pap is over and you didn't even know it happened. He's not ''warm & fuzzy,'' but a very kind doctor, and very competent based on my office visit experience and research of recommendations. I don't have first hand experience regarding delivery with him.

You want an OB-GYN who will be supportive of your birthing *plan.* But the midwives and nurses are the main people who get you through labor. In my opinion, OB-GYN is there in the event you need bigger interventions or have unexpected problems. And for that I say, find someone who is known to be a great surgeon. -Turned off by the big practices

June 2009

Re: Gynecologist who is easy to talk to?
Try Dr. Lanner-Cusin (2915 Telegraph, 510-845-8047). She is incredibly easy to speak to and very down-to-earth (I think in part it is due to the fact that she is European). I would also (have had to) trust her with surgery - she has lots of experience and is very good. anon 

Feb 2009

Re: Ob Gyn who is GREAT at C-sections
I delivered my first baby via c-section with Dr. Jill Foley - and she and the whole team at Alta Bates were fantastic. Dr. Foley has a great combination of warm bedside manner, a very no non-sense approach to answering questions, and has always been very prompt at getting me help with any issues around both my pregnancies and deliveries. She also delivered my second one via VBAC - and was wonderful during that experience, too, very encouraging, and spent a lot of time, not just during the actual delivery, but also the 9 hours prior.

During the c-section, both my husband and I were very impressed by how professional the whole team was - everything was double-checked, with amazing precision, and at the same time, the experience was much more positive than I had anticipated.

Dr. Foley practices in Berekley (right next to Alta Bates) and Orinda; her office phone number is 510-204-8180. Happy with OB/GYN for c-section & VBAC

Feb 2009

Re: Looking for a female gynecologist
I love all the female OBGYNs at Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation (fairly new name, can't remember what it was previously though, but they've been around for many years), on Telegraph in Berkeley. Dr Elizabeth Kanwit, Dr Ahsan, Dr Lanier-Cusin--all of them have been great. They're kind, sensitive, and take time to discuss any concerns. Really like everyone I've seen in this office. steph

Feb 2009

Re: Alta Bates-affiliated OB-GYN
I have had Dr. Kanwit as my doctor for many years, and she was the one who handled all my pregnancy appointments as well (my son is four years old now). The office is run pretty efficiently, and Dr. Kanwit personally returns my calls, and calls me with results of various tests. When in labor, the on-call doctor, Dr. Kim, another doctor from the same office, visited me after I had been in labor for 27 hours. She determined that I needed an emergency c-section because the fetal heart rate had dropped, and was very professional yet sympathetic to my wish for a natural childbirth. She said if the fetal heart rate returned to normal when we got to the OR, then I could resume laboring, but unfortunately it hadn't, so she went ahead with the c-section. While she is not my regular doctor, I appreciated her caring attitude and good bedside manner. Lori

Dec 2008

Re: Homebirth-friendly OB Gyn
Hi, I had two wonderful homebirths with Beah Haber and was overseen by a wonderful OB as well, Angelyn Thomas. She never once questioned my decision to have a home birth, prescribed whatever tests I needed (although I later learned Beah could do that as well) and was just wonderful. I've recommended Dr. Thomas to several friends who have not had home births and they've all been happy. Also, I recommend a guy named Lance Dursi in Los Gatos for your ultrasounds. He is far more wonderful than any facility you'll find in the east bay or SF. Email me if you have any questions about a homebirth or anything else. Good luck! Jen Jen

Oct 2008

Re: Post-menopause, seeking new female gyn
Katarina Lanner-Cusin, M. D. of Berkeley and UCSF and Marilyn Honegger, M.D. of Berkeley and Orinda are fabulous. Hopefully you could get in to see one or both. Dr. Honegger is my gyn, and a great diagnostician who is much in demand for surgery. Kararina performed surgery on my grown daughter, who flew back here from a job in Hawaii for the surgery because there was no one as good there. You might research their specific areas of surgical expertise, if you can. Both are also wonderful people, by the way. Best of luck. Judy

Oct 2008

Re: Post-menopause, seeking new female gyn
I highly recommend Dr.Risa Kagan of the East Bay Physicians Med. Group. After 2 high risk ''later in life'' pregnancies,I started to experience some'' uncomfortable'' changes with my body for almost 2 years.My Internist ordered tests ranging from hormone tests to ultrasounds all with normal results. I was frustrated! Dr. Kagan resolved my issues in my first visit with her! She is a straight forward,no nonsense,doctor who is extremely knowledgeable with women who are perimenopausal and menopausal. Dr.Kagan is located in Berkeley. Phone #(510)204-8190 Denise

Katarina Lanner-Cusin, M. D. of Berkeley and UCSF and Marilyn Honegger, M.D. of Berkeley and Orinda are fabulous. Hopefully you could get in to see one or both. Dr. Honegger is my gyn, and a great diagnostician who is much in demand for surgery. Kararina performed surgery on my grown daughter, who flew back here from a job in Hawaii for the surgery because there was no one as good there. You might research their specific areas of surgical expertise, if you can. Both are also wonderful people, by the way. Best of luck. Judy

August 2008

Re: Gynecologist surgeon for rectocele, cystocele
I just had the rectoscele and cycstoscele surgery done last month, and highly recommend any of the doctors at Sutter East Bay/OB Gyn Fertility, 2850 Telegraph Ave. My doctor was Dr. Arzou Ahsan and she was terrific. This surgery is becoming very common and all of the doctors there do the procedure. Any questions you could call me 510-334-8750 Sandy

May 2008

Re: ObGyn for 17-year-old daughter
I liked my old GYN before she moved her practice and had a REALLY BAD billing experience at her new office. Dr. Angeline Thomas, she's really thorough and gentle. (510) 845-4200. Good luck! anon mom

May 2008

Re: ObGyn for 17-year-old daughter
I recommend Dr. John Girard, who works in a group with offices in Berkeley and Orinda. I have a young daughter who was quite sensitive about going to see a GYN specialist, but who was absolutely delighted with Dr. Girard. He has a good sense of humor and immediately put her at ease. My wife was so happy with him that she switched from her own GYN and now sees Dr. Girard. Robert

May 2008

Re: ObGyn for 17-year-old daughter
I think my ObGyn would be really great for a teen girl - Dr. Arzou Ahsan in Berkeley. There are a lot of reviews for her and the others in her practice on the BPN website - I think all the ObGyns in that practice are women, if that makes a difference for your daughter.

April 2008

Re: Female ObGyn who delivers at Alta Bates
Dr. Arzou Ahsan is my *wonderful* female Ob/Gyn who delivers at Alta Bates. My daughter was born August 2008, and I am so glad that we found Dr. Ahsan. As is common practice these days, the prenatal check-up appointments were brief, but if I ever had specific concerns, she took the time to discuss them with me. I always felt like she gave thorough and meaningful answers to my questions: no dumbing-down or brushing off, etc. Our baby was born with unexpected medical issues, and Dr. Ahsan came to see us in the hospital every day we were there (even though she was not on call), and even went up to the NICU a number of times to check in on the baby. This extra support was above and beyond the call of duty, but shows how much she cares.

In the end, it was Dr. Jill Foley on call for the birth of our baby. She, too, was wonderful, and helped us to have exactly the birth we had hoped for: no interventions or drugs, lots of calm reassurance and guidance. I also recommend her very highly. new mama

April 2008

Re: Female ObGyn who delivers at Alta Bates
Try Jill Foley at Berkeley Orinda Women's Health (name has changed slightly). (510) 845-4200 Jill was my ob/gyn for two pregnancies--very good! Other doctors in the practice delivered, and they were both great! Practice now has a nurse/midwive for consultations. I highly recommend a doula for births at Alta Bates. The two nurses I had did not have the types of personalities that would have successfully gotten me through two non-medicated births. mom of two

Our baby was born with unexpected medical issues, and our doctor, Arzou Ahsan, came to see us in the hospital every day we were there (even though she was not on call), and even went up to the NICU a number of times to check in on the baby. This extra support was above and beyond the call of duty, but shows how much she cares. In the end, it was Dr. Jill Foley on call for the birth of our baby. She, too, was wonderful, and helped us to have exactly the birth we had hoped for: no interventions or drugs, lots of calm reassurance and guidance. I also recommend her very highly. new mama

March 2008

Re: OB GYN rec - good with PPD
First of all, congratulations on beeing ppd free and also on making the smart, life affirming decision to take care of yourself the second time around. I would highly recommend Dr. Angelyn Thomas. I also had ppd with my 1st child (not w/ dr. thomas) and began seeing dr. thomas in preparation for my 2nd, so she was with me through the whole thing. She was wonderful and is very knowledgeable about all treatments, from antidepressants to natural stuff. She is very kind and understanding. She also worked *extremely* well with my birth duola, Treesa Mclean, ( I think 510-581-1013) probably the best and most experienced duola in the bay area. Treesa worked with me to help meet all my needs througout my pregnancy, labor and delivery, and well after. It was great to have two wonderful women looking out for me. When my 2nd had complications and had to be sent to the NICU at birth (was very scary but ended up just fine) Treesa was there with us, guiding us through medical decisions for him, advocating for us, and she stayed with me the first night in the hospital when I had to be separated from my son. She helped me pump so my milk would come in and held my hand and reassured me all night that all would be well. Because of this my husband was able to be with our son. It all worked out fine and in the end we had a perfectly healthy mom and baby, but if it weren't for Treesa and Dr. Thomas I'm not sure mom would have been so healthy :-) I ended up w/ no relapse in depression, tho I did take antidepressants for the pregnancy and first few months just to be safe. I hope this helps ! anon

Jan 2008

Re: Berkeley Oakland Walnut Creek OB GYN
I've been going to Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health forever, at least 10 years. I have never once (not once!) had to wait more than 5 minutes. In fact, I often look forward to a short wait at the doctor's office to relax and read a magazine, but at BOWH I have never gotten further than a couple of pages into any magazine. I see Dr. Girard and love him, but saw almost all of the other doctors during my pregnancy (and delivery at Alta Bates) in 2003, and liked them all very much. They have offices in Berkeley and Orinda. Yesterday I called for a yearly exam and they had appointments immediately. They are great. I could do without their new phone system (now THERE's a wait for you), but have had nothing but good experiences at this office. BOWH fan

Nov 2007

Re: Looking For OBGYN
All my friends love either Dr. Girgis in Oakland or Dr. Angelyn Thomas in Berkeley. I go to Dr. Thomas and she's a youngish African American woman who went to Harvard. She's gentle, competant and all the friends I have referred to her are thrilled! Happy Patient

Oct 2007

Re: GYN In Lamorinda
I see Dr. Marilyn Honegger in Orinda. From what I hear she has a very big following and I have been happy with her. Anon

Oct 2007

Re: Female GYNO
I'm a quite satisfied patient of Katarina Lanner-Cusin in Berkeley. I'm not sure if she's taking new patients, however. I recently went into their office when Dr. Lanner-Cusin was out of town, and saw Dr Elinor Kim. She is one of the newer Dr's in this practice, and she was wonderful! Patient, caring, answered all my questions. I felt she took really good care of me. I would highly recommend her. Kim

I had to respond to the person who put in a recommendation for Dr.Eleanor Kim at East Bay OB/GYN & Fertility. I had been a patient of Dr.Lanner-Cusin's for my first and second pregnancies, but saw Dr.Kim for the last half of my second pregnancy when it was too difficult to schedule appointments with Dr.L-C. The treatment I received under Dr.Kim's care during the day of my delivery was insensitive and disorganized.

My baby was measuring small, so in my final month of pregnancy Dr.Kim scheduled an ultrasound to determine whether the baby needed to come out. I was told not to eat or drink anything the night before in case I had to have a c-section the next day. I followed these orders and had my ultrasound early in the morning, and was told my results would be available ''STAT'' -- within the hour. However, Dr.Kim was out of the office and neglected to notify anyone that I would be awaiting the results of my test. On that 85-degree day, I was forced to wait until after 3 p.m., starving, thirsty, and anxious, until Dr.Kim finally read my test results and ordered me to go to the hospital to have my c-section. At no time that day did she offer an apology or an explanation for the long delay. The birth of my second child was decided by those test results, and many people in my family were waiting for my word to travel to Berkeley for the birth, yet Dr.Kim did not seem to give this any consideration.

In addition, no one notified the on-call doctor to do certain tests after my c-section, and I can never know what those tests might have revealed about the pregnancy. Dr.Kim never came to visit after the birth; she never once called to follow up.

My daughter was very healthy and my own recovery was fine, so I can't complain about our physical well-being, but I am still angry about my birth experience. Perhaps there was an explanation for the disorganization and miscommunication; the office may be partly to blame. However, I was left with the feeling that on a day that was very important to me, I had been forgotten.

July 2007

I had some complications recovering from a c-section; the Dr. was Richard Rudd and I would like to know the type of OB experience others have had with him, particularly c-sections. It's not clear (to me at least) whether the complications are due to an emergency issue that occurred at the birth or his handling of it, so I'd just like to gather further anecdotal information on Rudd's handling of c-sections. anon

I saw Dr. Rudd through 4 pregnancies (2 were miscarriages) and he performed one of my two c-sections (the other was at 2:30AM and he was not on call that night). He also performed my 2 DNCs. I had no complications from with any procedure and believe him to be an accomplished surgeon. I have complete confidence in his skills and knowledge as a doctor. He is not a ''warm and fuzzy'' type, but I chose him because I thought he was such a good, experienced doctor. anon

I have used Dr. Rudd as my OB for the past 10 years. He delivered my first child - not a C-section. The delivery was flawless. He explained my options clearly, handled each individual decision with concern, and was knowledgable and sure-handed. The nurses said they had never seen such a smooth delivery before. Hope you are well

I had a c-section with Dr. Rudd in November 2005 and experienced no complications at all. It was also my second surgical birth and no different recovery than the first with a different surgeon. Hope you feel better soon and congrats on the baby! anon

Dr. Rudd performed my emergency C-section in November and did a wonderful job! I had the c-section on a Sunday morning and was doing laundry on Friday. Stephanie

May 2007

Re: Female Gynecologist for Post-Kids
You might like Dr. Risa Kagan at East Bay Gynecology & Fertility Specialists on Telegraph near Ashby. She no longer delivers babies and has developed an expertise in issues related to menopause. Leslie

May 2007

Re: Looking for Lesbian-Friendly OB Gyn (TTC)
my neighbor is Dr. Arzou D Ahsan, and when i planned a homebirth, she was one of the few people i knew who didn't blanche at the very thought! she herself is a mother of twins, with her partner, so i assume she should be both knowledgable and respectful about your situation. my good friend sees her as her OB, and has been very happy with the care she has received. my friend's pregnancy (which was IVF, through ?pacific fertility in the city) went late, and Dr. Ahsan did not push for induction ASAP, as some do, but did monitor the amniotic fluid and recommended induction at the point where she felt the fluid was too low (?4.something, at 41w5d). my friend had had a previous pregnancy of twins with a loss of one at 37 weeks (with emergency c/s too late to save the one twin, but the other ok), so there was some extra caution indicated, and she was hoping for a VBAC, which Dr. Ahsan was supportive of; there was no pressure at all to schedule a c/s. Dr. Arzou D Ahsan Obstetrics and Gynecology 2915 Telegraph Ave Ste 200 Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 845-8047 anon

April 2007

Re: Need OB hospital and doctor recommendations
I would like to recommend my OB/GYN, Dr. Betsy Kanwit in Berkeley. She is part of a group of doctors, all women, who have a practice together. In fact, the other doctors I have met are all very good too. When I had to have an emergency c-section, it was performed by Dr. Kim, one of Dr. Kanwit's associates. Dr. Kim was very understanding as well as fast and efficient. The office is at 2915 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 200, Berkeley, phone 510 845-8047. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Lori

March 2007

Re: East Bay Ob Gyn that answers their phone?
Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health, now Sutter something East Bay Something Medical Foundation or something not very memorable. I have to leave a message once I get beyond the receptionists, but I always get a call back within a few hours. They even called me back after I left a frantic message before I was a patient to give me a same-day appointment when I was only five weeks pregnant and worried about it. Nicole R.

Feb 2007

Re: OB GYN in Berkeley or North Oakland?
Two of the best are Arzou Ahsan and Jill Folley --two different practices which work together to cover call. They are all the things you are looking for. Not sure if they are taking new patients or not. Good luck. lucky

Feb 2007

Re: OB GYN in Berkeley or North Oakland?
I would like to recommend East Bay Physicians Medical Group. pHONE 510-204-8190. 2915 tELEGRAPH aVE. #200, bERKELEY. It is a group of 7 women (one is a nurse practitioner and I believe one only does GYN). My official OB is Dr. Kanwit, and I love her, but she let me down recently with a lack of compassion and support in a scary/difficult situation (though this was the one and only incident, and I have been with her for 3 years now (on my 2nd pregnancy) and I believe she was just following medical protocols, but I am a person, not a statistic.). I have been since been seeing Dr. Ahsan who is younger and more open to alternative ideas than just following the normal medical protocols. We have seen everyone in the office for both pregnancies, and have liked everyone, you may need to make the rounds before you can settle on the right fit for you. They do share on-call hours with another OB group in the area, but that didn't concern me, I wasn't even attached who delivered my first child (or my second for that matter). I also delivered at Alta Bates, and have Blue Shield insurance. If you would like to e-mail me for more details on my experiences, please feel free to (since this has gotten long). Kukana

I have to respond to the recommendation for the OB Gyn and Fertility Specialists Group in Berkeley. I used this group for the pregnancy and delivery of my first child. The short version of a long and very painful story is that the practice missed several in utero signs that my baby had a significant disability. My delivery was horrible - Dr. Kanwit was on call and very busy. I ended up in an emergency c- section with no anesthesia for the first several cuts. After this horrible delivery and learning that my baby had Down syndrome, nobody from this practice came to see me for over 36 hours. When they did finally come to visit, they were insensitive to my baby and me. anon

Two of the best are Arzou Ahsan and Jill Folley --two different practices which work together to cover call. They are all the things you are looking for. Not sure if they are taking new patients or not. Good luck. lucky

Feb 2007

Re: OB GYN in Berkeley or North Oakland?
I have had excellent relationships and experience with both Arzou Ahsan and Helen Matthews. Dr. Ahsan 845-8047 and Dr. Matthews can be reached at 204-8160. Best of Luck

Oct 2006

Re: OB/GYN for VBAC in East Bay area
I had a great VBAC experience with Dr Richard Rudd of East Bay OB/GYN in January of 2005. I gave birth at Alta Bates and was induced due to high blood pressure two weeks before my due date, had an epidural, and still had a VBAC. I had seen the other (female) doctors in the practice and discussed the VBAC issue with them without much reassurance. When I saw Dr Rudd at 7 months I felt he discussed the options with me much more openly than the others and for some reason, even though I had not wanted a male doctor, I decided to stick with him for the rest of the pregnancy and fortunately when I needed to be induced I was able to schedule a day that he was there. Good luck, and I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have. Laura

Oct 2006

Re: OB/GYN for VBAC in East Bay area
For my second baby, I had to switch OBs twice to find someone who was supportive of my desire for a VBAC. I wound up going to Dr. Richard Rudd (841-5510) who was very supportive of my desire for a VBAC (though not all the other doctors in the practive were). I wound up with a C-section the second time too because he was worried about cord prolapse, but because he had been so supportive of my desire for a VBAC I trusted him when he said it was imperative that I get a C-section immediately. We had our baby at Alta Bates

Oct 2006

Re: Lesbian/queer friendly ob-gyn?
My best friend and I, both queer moms, love our ob-gyns at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health. Mine is John Girard. He's kind of old-school, but I love him. Very relaxed and funny. I'm a very low-maintenance patient, so I can't say how he would be with a person who asked a lot of questions, etc., but he was always very supportive about my fertility stuff. Jill Foley is my friend's ob-gyn, and she did the insemination that resulted in the birth of my daughter (now 3). Kurt Wharton (now with a different practice) delivered my daughter, and he is absolutely wonderful, too. You can check the archives for reviews of Drs. Girard, Foley and Wharton . . . I wrote one back in June 2005 as well. Hope this helps! Grateful for My Great Ob-Gyn

Oct 2006

Re: OB/GYN for VBAC in East Bay area
It's great that you're already thinking ahead to your next delivery, but the VBAC policy will most likely evolve over time. Not only does your OB have to be supportive, but everyone who might be covering her call schedule has to be on board for VBACs. My OB, Dr. Jill Foley, was totally supportive of my VBAC choice in January (and she was great in general), but her office joined forces with another practice for call coverage. Not everyone in the larger group seemed as flexible as she, and you never know who will show up for your delivery. Good luck! A Successful VBAC-er

Oct 2006

Re: OB/GYN for VBAC in East Bay area
Hi. I had a successful VBAC in November 2005 with Dr. Katarina Lanner-Cusin, who practices in Berkeley on Telegraph. Her entire practice is great and they were very supportive of my decision to try for a VBAC. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Ann

Aug 2006

I will soon most likely be getting a hysterectomy (uterus out, cervix and ovaries remain) due to large fibroids. Dr. Katarina Lanner-Cusin will do the surgery. Does anyone have experience with (1)this type of surgery and (2) Dr. Cusin? Any advice will be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you anon

Dr. Lanner-Cusin is great; she delivered my first baby. I've since had a hysterectomy, though not by her, and want to tell you not to worry! Post-op life is fine, recovery was totally easy, anything sex-related works great. It feels scary beforehand, perhaps, but you'll feel great passing that tampon aisle and buying white sheets and pants! don't miss the .

Dr. Lanner-Cusin is wonderful. She is extremely professional, very knowledgeable and caring. She has been my OB/GYN for more than 5 years. She hasn't performed surgery on me, but if I needed OB/GYN surgery, she would be my choice without hesitation. She is a remarkable physician. Good luck to you Big L-C Fan

Dr. Lanner-Cusin is the ob-gyn who cared for me through two pregnancies and I highly recommend her. She is incredibly caring and energetic. When I recently gave birth to my son, she was not the doctor on call; however, she still came to see me several times during my labor, just to make sure that I was doing alright. I imagine that she would give you that kind of care during a hysterectomy as well. Good luck, and feel free to email me if you have any further questions Ann

Hi Anon.! I had a partial hysterectomy about 2 years ago due to massive fibroids and monthly hemmorraging. My doctor recommened a hysterectomy years prior, but I was stubborn and wanted to ''hold on'' tomy uterus! I finally got so sick from the bleeding and pain-I had no choice. I AM SO GLAD I DID!!! As my uterus was too large for a vaginal hysto, my doctor did a vertical cut from bellybutton down...the surgery was so easy-i felt better within a few days!! The incision healed fast and I felt great! Wish I had done it YEARS ago-Today-I still feel great-I had increased energy, vitality, and sex was the same if not better! I would HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you have fibroids-(mine were 6lbs.!) -I tried every natural remedy, progesterone creme, herbs, -nothing worked. The surgery is a breeze-and you will feel like a new woman-enhanced as the only thing missing is the uterus-which we need only to conceive-with ovaries & cervix left- everything stays the same-I do get a small 2 day lite period monthly due to the uterine cells in the cervix-but that is fine with me! Some doctors insist on taking everything out-at least in NY they did-dont let them!! My doctor was very compasssionate and professional-saying he would not remove organs in which there was not abnormality nor disease...a lot of doctors want to take it all have to be persistant in what you want. Hope this helped!! A'isha

May 2006

Re: Hematologist Familiar with MTHFR Issues
While I don't have a recommendation for a hematologist I too am homozygous with the MFTHR defect. My obgyn Angelyn Thomas diagnosed me after a couple of miscarriages. She successfully managed my treatment during pregnancy and I now have a very healthy baby boy! She mentioned that she had a few patients with this disorder and seemed very knowledgeable. Maybe you just need a new ob? Feel free to contact me if you want - I was pretty spooked when I started doing more research on this disorder but got some good answers from Dr Thomas and have a happy success story. s.

May 2006

Re: Ob/Gyn for cervical dysplasia
I have had cervical dysplasia for the last 5 years and was treated at Kaiser for a while in SF and had a cone biopsy there in 2002. I was not happy with the way I was treated there, always seeing a different doctor or just NPs and decided to switch insurance and find a doctor that I could see every time I had an appointment and really help me with the cervical dysplasia. I was recommended to Dr. Arzou Ahsan in Berkeley on Telegraph. I became her patient and I have to say she is wonderful, kind, patient, listens, and really wants to help solve the problen. She is very diligent and she discovered that I actually had a vaginal lesion during a very thorough colop, probably why after my cone biopsy I kept having abnormal pap smears. Go see her! She is great and I believe trained at UCSF and worked in their dysplasia clinic, which is another good place to go. I went there for my surgery to remove the vaginal lesion on Dr. Ahsan's recommendation. The good news is that I conceived and had my first baby last fall right after having the surgery to remove the vaginal lesion. I have now had 3 normal pap smears and get to go back to annual exams. I have been so happy with Dr. Ahsan! Good luck! mom who had cervical dysplasia

March 2006

Re: Progressive OBGYN recommendation
I chose Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health in part for their responsive office staff and willingness to see me right away (the Orinda office, anyway). I found Drs. Honegger and Foley to be terrific and supportive of my natural birth. My story is in the archives -- Dr. Foley even stopped the nurse from giving me a postnatal pitocin shot. Even though the practice was bought out, the characters of the doctors don't change. New Mama

March 2006

I had to find a new OB about 3 months into my pregnancy. A friend recommend Dr. Huibonhoh but I also found she was full when I called. I went to Dr. Richard Rudd (841-5510) and really like him so far. He doesn't seem to be a warm and fuzzy hand- holding kind of guy, but he has taken the time to answer all my questions and I feel really good about him. When I told him the list of doulas he gave me was out of date, he took to the time get a copy of the list and write down who was no longer a birth doula. He is really encouraging me to do a VBAC (I wasn't sure I wanted to before). I know someone else who goes to a different doctor in the same practice and she had two vaginal births, I think with no drugs.


Feb 2006

Re: Need new ob/gyn in East Bay for OD pregnancy
I have had wonderful experiences with all of the doctors at Berkeley Orinda Women's health in Orinda. I delivered in August and saw Drs. Foley, Honneger, and Girard throughout my pregnancy and while in the hospital - they were all absolutely wonderful! michelle

Feb 2006

Re: New primary care provider and a new gynecologist
Hi, I go to Dr. Ahsan for OBGYN in Berkeley, and she is wonderful. Her number is 510-845-8047. Jamie

Nov 2005

Re: OB/GYN and midwife ''touchy-feely''
There are a couple of obgyns who are really really good and have a GREAT bedside manner, although I am not 100% sure I'd describe them as ''touchy feely''. I am somewhat ''neurotic'' and had a fairly complicated pregnancy. The women who worked with me during my pregnancy were AMAZING!!!! I am SO THANKFUL I wound up with them. There are several women in this practice that is located in Telegraph Ave in Berkelel, but the ones who I really loved and recommend are:
1. Dr. Ahsan (wonderful!!!!)
2. Dr. Lanner-Cusin (LOVED her!!!)
3. Dr. Eleanor Kim (she has a wonderful bedside manner, but I know she recently had her own child so I am not sure if she is on maternity leave)
4. Dr. Kanwit (a lot of people absolutely LOVE her, but I only saw her once or twice) Stephanie

Which doctor at Berkeley Orinda Women's Health?

Oct 2005

I just found out I'm pregnant again and my OB practice, Berkeley Orinda Women's Health, has had a bit of a shuffle this year that isn't reflected on the website. Dr. Sakamoto left the practice to teach. Dr. Wharton has struck out on his own in Lafayette. They've added another fairly new woman doctor named Dr. Sandu and I haven't heard anything about her. I adore Dr. Wharton but don't know if I want to work with a solo doctor (and all the way over in Lafayette at that). But I've had mixed experiences with the other doctors from that practice. I don't know whether to stay, try Dr. Wharton's new private practice, or just find a whole new practice. Does anyone have any information about the new doctor Sandu, about the changes there, and whether the practice itself has changed much. The last reviews are over a year old. Likewise, it seems that Omni Medical (that used to share call group with BOWH) has disbanded completely. Dr. Huibonhoa (who I always heard fabulous things about) is on her own now. I want a doctor (man or woman) that's willing to let me labor naturally, without IVs and monitoring, and won't rush to intervene if things get a little bumpy during labor. (My last labor stalled out at 15 hours, but I eventually delivered at about 18 hours). Any info is much appreciated.

We've used Dr Foley at BOWH and been quite happy. Don't know anything about the new doctor. We also liked Drs. Wharton and Sakamoto and were bummed that they left. Also heard good things about Dr. Huibonhoa, too. She was actually the one who delivered our daughter as she was on call that night. Bottom line is you need to feel comfortable with your doctor. If you don't like BOWH, then find another.

While I know that the practice has undergone some changes lately, I would definitely recommend you at least schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandu to see how you like her. Granted I am done with my childbearing, however I found Dr. Sandu absolutely terrific, very astute and someone I will definitely trust with my health (I have a history of cancer in my family so I am quite selective about my medical care). Dr. Sandu was very thorough in her exam, asked lots of questions and brought up issues that I hadn't previously discussed, and appeared very well-informed. She is quite young, but IMHO, that works to our advantage in that she is up-to-date on the latest information on women's health issues. I am a former patient of Dr. Sakamoto's and was terribly saddened to see him leave the practice. However I think Dr. Sandu will provide an even better and more informed level of care for my needs. I am interested to see what others say about her delivery and bedside manners. I certainly plan to stay with the practice with her as my doctor. Happy patient

I met MD Sandu and liked her a lot. I gave birth in march, 2005, none of the doctors from the practice were there. personally I think they're better off without MD Sakamoto. He stripped my membranes once without asking or even infoming me. and I was one single day overdue! I'm still kind peeved about it. I didn't know Wharton left. that's a shame former patient

I am a patient of Dr. Wharton's and was under his care for my second pregnancy when he was in the processing of moving to his own practice. I actually ended up delivering early via C- Section with Dr. Honegger two days before Dr. Wharton's first day solo. I was very impressed with Dr. Honegger's bedside manner and presence prior to and during the surgery. It happened very suddenly and she was very understanding and calming. Dr. Wharton had performed my first C-Section and he is tough to beat.

That being said, I did have a slight complication from the second C-Section with a nerve root being tied into my internal incision. Not dangerous but unbelievably painful. Dr. Wharton actually made a housecall on a Saturday morning to diagnose the problem as he didn't want me mobile until he knew what was going on. He really does take a personal interest in your care. I now make the trek out to Lafayette to see him and it is worth the drive.

Hi, I'm a former Berkeley/Orinda OBGYN patient and Dr. Sakamoto's at that. I loved Dr. Sakamoto was my OB with my two children. I had met Dr. Wharton several times. When Dr.Sakamoto left, I saw Dr. Wharton and have followed him to his new digs in Lafayette. I live in El Cerrito. It's worth it. He's available, helpful and personable. He really wanted to go on his own so he could provide more service. It's worked out well for me. Good luck. anno.

As of October 1st, Berkeley Orinda Women's Health has become a part of larger medical group and the name has changed to something along the lines of Summit Medical Foundation (I can't remember exactly). As you say, both Dr. Sakamoto (my former doctor) and Dr. Wharton have left. I really liked Dr. Sandu, who I saw several times after Dr. Sakamoto left, but she has also left. My current experience there as a pregnant patient is that it is much more difficult to get appointments. The remaining doctors (who I think are all good) seem to be stretched very thin and getting prenatal appointments in Berkeley is difficult (have had to go to the Orinda office more often). I'm not sure what the future implications of this merge into the larger practice are, but after this baby I'm planning to look around for another practice. anon

I'm a Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health patient, and I gave birth to my son completely naturally at Alta Bates about two months ago. Dr. Honegger is my ''official'' OB, and Foley delivered him. I was hooked up to the monitors for the pushing, but she didn't make me get an IV, and she even prevented the nurse from giving me the Pitocin injection after delivery. I must say that I labored at home for the first 23 hours, showing up at the hospital just for the last hour (already completely dilated and ready to push). So there wasn't much opportunity for intervention!

I've only been a patient of theirs for the past year, so I can't say if the practice has changed, but over the course of my pregnancy I saw all the doctors, and I liked them all okay. Dr. Sandu I only saw once, but she is young and took the time to sit down and listen (as does Dr. Foley). They are all medically-oriented, of course, with fairly speedy office visits focused on checking the vitals rather than discussing diet, birthing techniques, etc. When I expressed my anxieties about birth, they all thought I would find it reassuring that if labor was too hard or too scary, there were drugs they could give me.

I was looking for minimal intervention, so I asked questions like, ''Will I have to have continuous monitoring?'' and ''For how long will you let me push?'' Dr. Honegger, in her amusing pragmatic way, would make no promises. It all depends, she would say, and would suggest that I practice relinquishing control. Another day, though, when I was expressing doubt that I'd be able to handle a natural birth, she did say that if I was committed and if I had enough support (meaning my husband and doula) there was no reason I couldn't have a natural birth. I appreciated that. Congratulations! And good luck with your decision. New Mama

Oct 2005

It seems as if Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health has been bought up by Sutter and a number of the doctors have split away (I know that Dr. Wharton has started a solo practice in Lafayette and Dr. Sakamoto has apparently joined Kaiser). Does anyone know who from the old practice has stayed on with Sutter? Are there new doctors there as well? Is the practice worth staying with? I have been unable to get anyone at the new practice to return a call. lost my OB

I just had an appt with Dr. Foley at Berkeley Orinda Women's Health (or Sutter, whatever it's called) and didn't even realize there had been a change until they handed me a slip explaining it all. I have only ever seen Dr. Foley (for 4+ years and love her) so I can't speak to others within the practice. I didn't notice any change in my care or the way my entire appt went and was still very happy with my care and the ease of making appts (love that they offer late appts some nights too). Hope this helps... Still Happy

I can wholeheartedly recommend any of the remaining physicians at what used to be called Berkeley Orinda women's health. Dr. John Girard is amazing; the best OBGYN. Very caring, supportive, honest, doing what is right for both mother and baby.He delivered my son 11 months ago. The other doctors in the practice -- Jill Foley, Marilyn Hoenegger, and Dr. Sandu -- are excellent as well. I saw all of them during my pregnancy and both Dr. Foley and Dr. Hoenegger (as well as Dr. Girard) during delivery. The offices are the best run in the business. I've never waited more than 10 minutes, a tremendous difference from most other practices and the nursing staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. Sharon

I've been with Berkeley/Orinda Women's Health for the past year or so. You are correct that Dr. Sakamoto has left the practice. Dr. Sandhu was new, but has left the practice already. I'm not sure why, but I only saw her once; she was the one doctor in the practice that I just wasn't comfortable with.

My primary doctor there is Dr. Jill Foley, but I also saw Dr. Honneger and Dr. Girard throughout my pregnancy (I just delivered in August with Dr. Girard). I can't say enough good about them and their practice.

I can't speak to your desire to labor naturally, as my water broke and I had to be helped along with pitocin (and an epidural), but I can say that the doctors really listened to me and respected my desires throughout the entire process.

I would not worry about the shuffling. The doctors who are still there are all EXCELLENT - caring, competent, and extremely capable. michelle

I think the Sutter buy-out just happened (they gave me a fact sheet on it this Tuesday, but not when I was there last eight weeks ago), while Drs. Wharton and Sakamoto have been gone at least since January 2005 (when I first went there). They claim nothing will change as far as patient care, but I think it's too soon to tell. Over the last nine months (I just had a baby) I saw Drs. Honegger, Foley, Sandu, and Girard, as well as the practice's CNM. I liked all of them all right, although they tend to rush through appointments unless you practically block the door. Foley and Sandu are the best at actually sitting down and saying, ''Any questions?'' and actually waiting for a response! I'm surprised that no one called you back; I chose them due to their stellar response time and helpful office staff (Orinda office). New Mama

Aug 2005

I'm looking for information on the female doctors at East Bay Ob/Gyn. I saw Dr. Birenbaum there for my first baby, but apparently she's moved on, as has Dr. Ahsan. Has anyone had good or bad experience with the current female doctors there? Thanks for your input.

Sorry, I can't tell you about current OB/GYNs at East Bay Oby/Gyn Med Assoc, but I wanted to let you know that Dr. Ahsan is still nearby in another OB/GYN practice: phone# 510-845-8047, 2915 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley. She's a great doc.

Re: Smart Obgyn (June 2005)
I recently saw Marilyn Honneger for the first time. Dr. Sakamoto was my obgyn but he left the practice and I switched to Dr. Honneger. I too am post-child bearing and was satisfied with my routine visit. Her bedside manner is pleasant and she is open to questions.

Re: Smart Obgyn (June 2005)
I've been a patient of Dr. Girard's for many years and I think he is wonderful. Relaxed, funny, definitely a straight- shooter. I also saw Dr. Honegger, Dr. Foley and Dr. Wharton during my pregnancy. I think they're all great and couldn't be happier with this practice. Dr. Wharton delivered my child while he was still at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health with Dr. Girard and Co.I find all of these doctors to be warm and caring and, importantly, always on time! In contrast to another person who found Dr. Foley ''brash,'' I found her to be really concerned and helpful. I had been given some advice to be more aggressive about trying to conceive and told my ''numbers'' (FSH, etc.)were ''bad.'' Dr. Foley thought that was ridiculous and that I'd be pregnant any moment. In fact, I was pregnant 2 weeks later and Dr. Foley prevented me from spending $1000 on the unneeded ''fertility workup.'' Dr. Wharton is also great and definitely worth a drive to Lafayette. Actually, I live in Albany and mostly choose to see Dr. Girard in Moraga because I work in Co. Co. County and it's easier to park at the Moraga office. Having said all this, I have to say I am a very low-maintenance patient. I don't know what it would be like if I had lots of questions. But Dr. Girard always has an visit in his office before my exam and asks if there's anything I want to talk about, and I've never felt like any of these doctors discourages questions. Big Fan of BOWH

May 2005

My doctor, Elinor Kim, at Ob Gyn & Fertility Specialists has gone on maternity leave and I have to choose some one else in the office to see during my pregnancy. I've only been there twice and don't know any of the other doctors. Any recommendations would be helpful. Looking for new Dr.

I love my OB, Arzou Ahsan, who has been with ObGyn & Fertility Specialists since July 2004 (before that she was with East Bay ObGyn on Regent). She gave me excellent, relaxed, smart and sensitive prenatal care throughout my pregnancy. She also was on duty the day I delivered and played an enormous role in making the *very* long labor, pushing and birth go well. Despite the fact that my baby was ultimately born 39 hours after my water broke, she never pushed for a C-section; she was keeping a close eye on all our vitals and since they were all good, she let me keep laboring and pushing for as long as it took to get the job done. I really appreciate her putting an individual patient above any timeline or protocol, and I think she has tremendous judgment as well as great medical skills. Good luck to you. Katie

You are in luck because everyone whom I have encountered at this office is wonderful , including the efficient and friendly office staff. My OB-GYN for the last 4 years has been the wonderful Dr. Arzou Ahsan, and she delivered my first child. Dr. Elizabeth Matlock delivered my second, and she is equally as good. I saw Dr. Katarina Lanner-Cusin for an emergency and loved her too. What a great place! Suzi

I used both Dr. Risa Kagan as my Gyn and Katrina Lanner-Cusin as my Ob. I can not say enough about how wonderful they are as dedicated and conscientious doctors, with warmth and shared excitement throughout the entire experience. ilana

Re: OBGYN for menopause symptom management (May 2005)
I have been seeing Arzou Ahsan at ObGyn Fertility Specialists in Berkeley. (Fertility Specialists - something of a misnomer if you're a Woman of a Certain Age! but ...) I actually wanted a woman ObGyn closer to my own age but really clicked with Ahsan, who is somewhat younger (maybe late 30's?). She is sensible, practical, and really great about laying out all the options and helping me evaluate each one. I'm on HRT short-term and I feel SO MUCH BETTER!!! I wish I had talked to her about it two years before I actually got around to going in. She does accept Health Net. I have heard from friends that all the doctors in that practice are great, so I think that practice would be an excellent choice.

Sept 2004

Hi, I've read all the great recommendations for Dr.'s Streitfeld and Huibonhoa and am looking for additional insight into which of these doctors would be best for me. I'm also open to going to another OB/GYN in the East Bay. I have Blue Cross HMO (California Care).

I'm a fat woman with a successful pregnancy behind me. I am lesbian and hoping to become pregnant again (using a sperm bank). I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and will be starting Metformin which should hopefully help with getting pregnant along with lowering my blood sugar. I am, of course, making diet changes and continuing my exercise program.

I was under midwife care for my last pregnancy and ended up in the hospital with an emergency c-section. I also had gestational diabetes (controlled very well through diet). Anyway, I don't want to go the midwife route again for various reasons, including my medical condition and psychological fears due to what happened last time.

I want a doctor who will not be uncomfortable with my fat body or diabetes, and will be good for pre-care (inseminations) as well as on-going, non pregnancy care - in other words, someone I can stay with for a long time. I'd love to find someone who could remain my doctor if I get pregnant, although I will be a ''high risk'' pregnancy with diabetes and I understand that there are few of these practices around anymore due to malpractice insurance premiums.

In any case, if you have any recommendations for someone who is highly competent, will be okay with my body, and can help me through the fears of pregnancy after a somewhat traumatic first experience, that would be great! Much Appreciated

I can recommend Richard Rudd of East Bay Obstetrics & Gynecology Medical Associates as someone who is comfortable with big mamas. I didn't have diabetes during my last pregnancy and hope not to have it during this one, but I did have pre-eclampsia and are at risk of having it again. The issue of my weight (and I'm quite obese) has never come up as such, for which I'm quite glad.

As a BBW and one with PCOS, I am pleased to say that I had great results and a rapport with Dr. Richard Rudd at East Bay OBGYN in Berkeley. He worked with me when I was TTC (Trying To Conceive), during pregnancy and after. He helped diagnose my PCOS and regulated it with first Glucophage/Metformin, then with a change to Actos when the side effects from the Gluc were too much for me. I love him to death. His number is 510-841-5510. Tunisha

Sept 2004

Re: Seeking a More Personal ObGyn Practice
I used Dr. Angelyn Thomas and her buisness partner Dr. Gentry. I really liked the office staff and the doctors. On the day I deleivered, Dr. Thomas was ready and available right on time. Her offices were/are located near Summit hospital and I am not sure if they moved offices with the consolidation with Alta Bates. I'm sure you can find them on line or in the yellow pages. They were great! Carrie

Re: Looking for a female ObGyn (Aug 2004)
I am a patient of Arzou Ahsan's and really like her. She has a very casual bedside manner and is very easy to talk to. She has consistently chatted with me for a few minutes throughout my pregnany and later. I never feel rushed by her and I always have felt she knew who I was; which was an issue with my previous OB. I would highly recommend her. sally

Re: Looking for a female ObGyn (Aug 2004)
I cannot say enough good things about Elinor Kim and all of the people OBGyn/Fertility specialists .

I had been a long time patient of Dr. Lanner-Cusin in the same practice. Dr. Kim delivered my baby during her first week on board, and was incredible during a complicated labor. She bonded with my doula, let me try some alternative appraches and took charge when it was clear that I need intervention. Ulitmately her expertise was key in avoiding what could have easily become a C-section.

I remained a patient of Lanner's until I had a miscarriage last fall. Dr. Kim again wound up stepping in and not only provided excellent medical care, but down to earth and amazing emotinal support that I never would have expected from an MD.

I am now officially Dr. Kim's patient and feel very privileged to have found her. Susannah

Aug 2004

Can anyone give a recommendation for either Elinor Kim or Azu Ahsan. They are both OB/GYN's. S

dr. azhou was my ob/gyn while she was with the east bay fertility ob/gyn medical group, and i really liked her style. she's very laid back, but personable. i had an easy pregnancy, but i felt comfortable that she would be able to handle whatever came up. i really appreciated the fact that she didn't seem to be in too big a rush during my monthly appointments - she took the time to answer my questions. the fact that she was easy to communicate with was a big plus.

when it came time to deliver, dr. kim was the ob/gyn on call. we had never met her before, but from the moment i called her after my water broke at home, i got a good vibe from her. she was relaxed, not condescending, and quite supportive in her low key, but friendly way. ultimately she was the dr. who delivered our baby. she too was patient with me and didn't in any way try to dissuade me from approaching labor the way *i* wanted (i.e. without interventions, if at all possible). she was great. very satisfied mama

Eleanor Kim and Arzou Ahsan are both great. Dr. Kim delivered my first baby and saw me through an ovarian cancer scare with a lot of warmth and competence. Dr. Ahsan did the ovarian surgery very competently and had an easy manner. She didn't represent the extent of the physical damage or recovery time of the surgery accurately, which, in retrospect, Dr. Kim did. If you're looking for OB care, I really liked both of these docs but ended up switching practices because I wanted some assurance of having a doctor I know do my delivery.

I wanted to take this opportunity to highly recommend Dr. Arzou Ahsan. I know others have posted praise elsewhere on this site, but I figure it doesn't hurt to reinforce it! Dr. Ahsan was my prenatal doctor, by the luck of the draw also delivered my daughter, and now is my general ob/gyn. I find her to be incredibly professional, friendly, a great listener, a calming presence, very patient, dedicated, relaxed yet informed, and I feel very lucky to have found her! Caitlin

I saw Azu Ahsan once for a routine matter (she replaced my old OB, Laura Stachel) and thought she was fine. She wasn't particularly warm or dynamic, but seemed pleasant enough. I ended up going to Dr. Eleanore Kim for all of my prenatal care mainly because the practice Dr. Ahsan [used to be in] was very disorganized -- I couldn't get Dr. Ahsan to return phone calls or make a request for a procedure at Alta Bates I needed for my fertility treatments. (No reflection on Dr. Ahsan -- she probably never got the messages.) Anyway, I put up with that practice group for more than 10 years not knowing I had any better options. Dr. Kim's practice group is world's different. I found everyone there, OBs, nurses and staff, to be courteous, efficient and professional. All of my phone calls were promptly returned and all the OBs were very good at followup. I LOVED Dr. Kim herself. She was very warm, patient and caring in addition to being very smart. She had phenomenal follow through and seemed to really care about me as a person. I had a terrific pregnancy experience and credit her in no small measure for that. I can't recommend her highly enough. Satisfied Patient

June 2004

I've just found out that my ob/gyn, Dr. Arzou Ahsan, is leaving East Bay Fertility Group as of July. Does anyone know where she's gone? Thanks! Ellen

Re. Dr. Arzou Ahsan, She's moving to OBGYN Fertility Group, 2915 Telegraph, #200, BErkeley. Telephone 846-8047. I think this is the Katarina Lanner-Cusin group. Not sure when she moves --sometime in the next month, I think. I know her current practice isn't scheduling future appointments for her anymore. But maybe the new practice is! Good luck. dht

Dr. Arzou Ahsan is with East Bay OB/GYN Medical Group. The office is at 2999 Regent Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94705 (across the street from Alta Bates) 510-841-5510. She is not my primary doctor, but delivered my twins (has twins herself) and handled my postnatal follow-up. She is very knowledable and personable. I highly recommend her along with the other doctors in the practice. Karen C.

July 2004

Editor Note: Arzou Ahsan was formerly at East Bay Fertility OB/GYN Medical Group (see that page for recommendations prior to June 2004). in July 2004.

July 2004

I had a recent gyn, not pregnancy related, experience with Arzou Ahsan. I would go back to her for any services that require an OB-GYN. I am quite particular but found her absolutely wonderful. Very competent, respectful, friendly, non-pretentious and just lovely. She has very recently moved to an all woman practice on Telegraph near Ashby in Berkeley, tel 845-8047.

June 2004

I've just found out that my ob/gyn, Dr. Arzou Ahsan, is leaving East Bay Fertility Group as of July. Does anyone know where she's gone? Thanks! Ellen

Dr. Arzou Ahsan is with East Bay OB/GYN Medical Group. The office is at 2999 Regent Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94705 (across the street from Alta Bates) 510-841-5510. She is not my primary doctor, but delivered my twins (has twins herself) and handled my postnatal follow-up. She is very knowledable and personable. I highly recommend her along with the other doctors in the practice. Karen C.

Re. Dr. Arzou Ahsan, She's moving to OBGYN Fertility Group, 2915 Telegraph, #200, BErkeley. Telephone 846-8047. I think this is the Katarina Lanner-Cusin group. Not sure when she moves --sometime in the next month, I think. I know her current practice isn't scheduling future appointments for her anymore. But maybe the new practice is! Good luck.

Natural Birth Dr Thomas @ Alta Bates

May 2004

I am a very healthy 38 year old woman pregnant with my first child. My OBGYN is Dr. Angelyn Thomas. It is really important to me to have a delivery that is as free of intervention (i.e. drugs, i.v.'s, monitors, etc.) as possible. We have weighed our options carefully about where to have this baby and decided I will deliver at Alta Bates (Summit's Labor and Delivery is closing this summer). I really want to be able to move around while in labor particularly while pushing (I don't want to be restricted to being on my back while I push unless absolutely necessary). I am wondering if anyone has any experience with Dr. Thomas and her group, particularly around natural birth and her philosophy about intervention and natural child birth? Also any words of wisdom or recommendations about delivering at Alta Bates would be great also. Any information or advice will be welcome.

hi there, I'm also 38 and just had my first child in January at Summit w/ Dr. Thomas. She's really great about listening and adhering to your concerns/desires. If you feel especially strongly, type up a birthing plan ( and give it to the staff at the hospital -- I didn't need one w/ Dr. Thomas -- I told her beforehand what my wishes were (no meds, no episiotomies, nothing that might harm the baby in any way) -- w/ room for flexibility should the medical need arise. the childbirth prep nurse/instructor also advised to tell the nursing staff to not offer you meds (put it on your chart in case of shift change).

I also wanted to have all natural childbirth -- figuring billions of women have done so, so could I. unfortunately, it didn't work out that way (my water broke and the baby hadn't dropped, I wasn't dilating and stopped dilating as soon as they stopped inducing -- after 21 hours, I was only at 6cm) so we opted for the c-section -- which she already warned us might happen (9 lbs. plus baby, bicornuate uterus).

I don't know what Alta Bates is like but Summit had a full range of options -- their birthing rooms have showers (some w/ jacuzzi tubs) and the beds are multi-positional so you can get into any position you want. Unless you have an epidural (requires constant monitoring and they don't offer walking epidurals) you should be able to walk around.

I'm sure Dr. Thomas would honor your wishes unless it's medically inadvisable. My best advice is to request a second ultrasound a few weeks before your due date -- it enabled us to know how big the baby was (he was at 39 wk size at 36 weeks w/ head diameter at 10cm) and gave us a more accurate view of what delivery would be like and to think about our options. also, I have a friend who just gave birth after a healthy pregnancy and the baby turned out to have severe cerebral and respiratory problems and died 2 days later -- they didn't get the 2nd ultrasound and I wonder if it might have been helpful though I don't think it would have changed anything but you never know.

feel free to contact me if you have further questions and good luck.

I had Dr. Thomas birth my now 5-month old daughter. I found Dr. Thomas very open minded and willing to accomodate. I really love her. To my disappointment Dr. Thomas showed up only to catch the baby, she asked to be called when the baby was crowning. I was very surprised since I thought she was going to be with me for a big part of the labor but she showed up for the last 5 minutes. The nurse said that that is very common. It was the nurses who were there for the whole labor and let me labor the way I wanted to. Maybe find out what the nurses at Alta Bates are like. I hear wonderful things about them. Good Luck Anon

Dr. Thomas delivered my baby last September. I also wanted a drug-free labor with the ability to labor in the shower, on a birthing ball, etc. Dr. Thomas's advice was supportive (said many women can go through entire labor without an iv) but also suggested not to make any hard and fast rules regarding pain meds and see how the labor progressed. She encourages laboring in a variety of positions but requires that you are on your back for delivering the baby. I like Dr. Thomas and found her to be very competent and calm during the delivery. If you would like more information, my email is cmshafer [at] Good luck! Cindy

Good for you in seeking what you want! If you want as little intervention as possible in a hospital setting, I highly suggest you find a nurse-midwife. The things you desire are a midwife's goal. Also, most OBs and many midwives show up just to ''catch'' the baby- it's the labor and delivery nurses that really matter (and they sometimes change their style depending on who the OB/ Midwife is). Tell your doctor about your wishes and see how she responds. You'll get a sense of how often she catches babies with mom on her hands and knees! anon

Also recommended: Childbirth at Alta Bates , Childbirth at Summit , and La Clinica Ob Gyns

Re: ObGyn for a VBAC (May 2004)
I missed the original posting, so this response is a little late. I'm happy to say that I had a successful unmedicated VBAC two months ago at Alta Bates. My obstetrician, Marilyn Honegger, was exceptionally supportive throughout my pregnancy, not only of my desire to attempt a vaginal birth but also of my decision to forgo an amnio (I'm 40 years old). The other doctors in her office, East Bay Women's Health, also knew of and respected my choices. My situation may have been a little unusual in that my first baby was delivered by cesarian due to fetal distress rather than failure to progress, so I was a good candidate for a VBAC. Still, I highly recommend that you contact EBWH. In addition to supporting women's personal decisions about their births, it's a wonderful practice in countless other ways, with a well-organized office, kind and sensible nurses, and some really great doctors. Happy Mama

May 2004

Re: Ob/Gyn for menopause
if you can get in, Risa Kagan has such a practice. Though she also has an active ob piece of the practice, she is one of the few i found with the interest and ability for those of us approaching menopause.

I have been told that she leans toward HRT intervention, but I found this not to be true in my case. After careful consideration of my entire circumstances, in fact, she said i should not be using it, and offered alternatives more consistant with my situation.

I feel she is extremely thoughtful about my care, and trust her ability based on my experience with her. She keeps on top of any problems, following up with tests and/or treatment where appropriate. And I felt completely safe in her hands when i went under general anesthetic so that she could take a closer look at growths on my uterine wall. With that information, she keeps a close watch over any changes taking place.

I personally found her not to be warm and cozy. But on the other hand, she listens and responds to almost everything i say.

February 2004

Re: Hills Physicians Woman OB/GYN
I have Blue Shield and Hill Physicians. I had a recent first very good experience with Arzou Ahsan at the EB OB-GYN group, I think they're called, located in the tall medical building directly to the east of Alta Bates. She was friendly, knowledgeable, respectful and informal. I'm quite particular about medical providers and had just had a negative experience with another OB-GYN. I'll be happy to share more info if you write me off list. Good luck! - Rebecca

Re: ObGyn for Over 40 (August 2003)
Hi there, I'm only in my late 20s, but Dr. Marilyn Honegger at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is a very professional OB/GYN whom you may feel comfortable with. Dr. Foley, who is around my age, is my primary OB in the practice, but I saw Dr. Honegger a few times when Dr. Foley wasn't available for my pregnancy checkups and she made me feel very much at ease, which is no mean feat for an OB/GYN, given the nature of the job. I'd guess she's probably in her 50s and exudes a very calm, capable and friendly manner. Beth

Re: ObGyn for Over 40 (August 2003)
John Girard at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health may be the guy for you. Very experienced, very funny and very gentle. He does a fair amount of OB, but is moving more toward gyn exclusively.

Re: Fibroid Surgery (June 2003)
Dr. Richard Rudd. 841-5510. He is my OB/GYN and performed my C-section (at Alta Bates). He is a great doctor and has a reputation as a very good surgeon. Liz

Re: Fibroid Surgery (June 2003)
The best clinician and surgeon, around, for things gynecologic and obstetrical is Richard Rudd, M.D. He did an ovary-saving surgery for my sitter when she had a benign cyst the size of an orange on her ovary; other gyns., whom my sitter had seen, were preparing my beloved sitter that, likely, she would lose the ovary. Richard came out of surgery very elated and chatty about what he had done, exactly, to spare the ovary. As an aside, he is also a lovely person who is great with high-maintenance (emotionally) patients like moi. I prefer going to Richard's Pinole office instead of Berkeley because it is quieter, more subdued (the office personnel is less harried and nicer).

Re: Fibroid Surgery (June 2003)
I would like to recommend my OB/GYN, Angelyne Thomas, she is also a surgeon and removed a fibroid from me last year. She is very gentle, thorough, patient, and knowledgable. She's in Oakland, her number is (510) 653-0846. Her office is on 34th St, and she works out of Summit Medical Center.

Re: Endometriosis (April 2003)
Well, I believe my OBGYN is the greatest! He's also very knowledgeable and willing to do research on new procedures and treatments. His name is Dr. Richard Rudd and he's with East Bay Obstetrics & Gynecology Medical Associates, 510.841.5510. His office is on Regent Street behind Alta Bates. Tunisha

Re: ObGyn for a VBAC (May 2003)
I had a VBAC with Dr. Arzou Ahsan. When I told her I wanted to do a VBAC she was incredibly supportive and then during labor she was right on track with me too. She is part of East Bay OB, phone is 8437722. I had a great experience with her. Good luck! Sally

April 2003

I just learned that my OB/GYN Lisa Keller is leaving the East Bay OB/GYN Medical Group in Berkeley - has anyone had any experience yet with the two new women doctors that have joined the group (Arzou Ahsan and Emily Biernbaum)?

I had a checkup with Arzou Ahsan last month and I really liked her a lot. In my case I had not been in for a few years because I hate going to the doctor so much. Also I needed to find a new obgyn. By the time I got around to making an appointment with the highly recommended Keller & Stachel, they were both gone! (one is moving and the other is on extended leave.) So I made an appt. with Dr. Ahsan. Dr. Ahsan has a direct, practical approach to doctoring, which I appreciated a lot. At the same time she is friendly and comfortable to be around. Her manner is relaxed and casual, and she introduced herself using her first name. She has a sense of humor, and she came across as very smart and very up on the latest. I do not like warm fuzzy obgyns who pat you on the shoulder and reassure you in a maternal or paternal way. I was relieved that Dr. Ahsan isn't that way, yet she is also not cold and clinical. To me she has just the right blend of professionalism and warmth. She also was supportive about my own minimalist approach to medicine. She told me that I really don't need to come in every year given my clean pap record. She did not lecture me about never having had a mammogram - just wrote out the referral. The exam was fast and thorough but she was also very perceptive about my own history and my needs, and I felt that if I had something to discuss, she would have as much time for me as I needed. I had the best possible ObGyn experience with her and I can't imagine a more suitable ObGyn for someone like me whose approach to medicine is ''nothing's wrong with me so why do I need to go?''. G

I've only met Dr. Ahsan so far, and she is really great. She had obviously spent time reading my file before she met me and knew all about my rather complicated pregnancy history. She has been prompt to return my calls and even remembered details from my previous visit. She comes across as professional and competent, yet also very warm. She also recently delivered babies for two of my friends and both raved about their experience with her. In one instance, she was there the entire time during the active pushing stage and invited the dad to pull the baby out, which thrilled them to pieces. Teresa

I too had Lisa Keller as a Dr. and thought she was wonderful. Luckily I had a great experience with Dr. Arzou Ahsan before Lisa left and I would recommend her highly. Don't know anything about the other new Dr. yet. anon

Dr. Ahsan has been my OBGYN for the past 5 months (I am 9 months pregnant) and she is terrific! She is extremely intelligent and has great bedside manner. She is willing to answer your questions thoroughly and is very approachable. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for an OBGYN. Anonymous

I share your sadness that Dr. Keller is leaving as she just delivered our baby. That occured only because she happened to be on call, as my doctor is Arzou Ahsan. Dr. Ahsan is very bright and personable, and I have heard very positive things about her from others. She saw us for several prenatal visits, which were pleasant and uneventful. laura

Since at Dr. Keller's office you never know who you're going to get for your delivery, I saw different doctors each visit during my pregnancy so I could get to know them all. Besides, it was always difficult to get an appointment w/ Dr. Keller, who was my primary physician. I highly recommend Dr. Ashan - I like her approach, never felt rushed with her, and appreciated the fact that she has twins (just under 2yrs old I think). I ended up asking for her the most when making appointments, but felt comfortable with the other doctors I saw there as well, including Dr. Biernbaum. I can't say enough good things about the practice and these 2 doctors. I had to call the office once after hours and Dr. Ashan was on call - she called me right back and was really thorough over the phone. And when I went into labor in December, Dr. Biernbaum attended to me in triage; she was pretty pregnant then. In any case, even if you sign up with one of the doctors, you should see them all anyway, as I mentioned you don't know who will actually deliver your baby. That didn't bother me, as from experience we other deliveries I knew that for a normal delivery you spend most of your time with the nurse on call anyway. The male doctor at the practice (I don't remember his name) was the one that ended up being there for my delivery. anon

I recently saw Dr. Assan (sorry about the probably incorrect spelling), who is new in the practice where Lisa Keller was (and where Laura Stachel was and will be again, I think). I was very impressed with her communication style. I connected easily with her and was able to talk about all manner of things and feel comfortable. I've only had one visit and one phone call with her, but I would recommend giving her a try. A patient

February 2003

Hi -- I just found out that I am pregnant, and I am looking for an OB who spends more than five minutes per visit with patients and who delivers most of her babies. A friend of mine recommended Dr. Angelyn Thomas. I would love to hear about people's experiences with her, especially when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Thanks! AD

Hi, I don't regularly see Angelyn Thomas, but am a patient of her partner Dr. Gentry. While I was pregnant, though, I saw Dr. Thomas around the office and she was very friendly and took the time to get to know me. I also saw her once, when Dr. Gentry was away. I was pleased with her. good luck, Michelle

I have been seeing Dr. Angelyn Thomas for about a year now and am completely happy. I plan to have her deliver my next baby. She spends a lot of time with her patients and is wonderful about answering questions. I have found her to be flexible, warm, intelligent, and a consumate professional. I hope this helps. Rebecca

Dr. Thomas is extremely professional. Despite running a busy practice I found her willing and happy to answer all of my questions (which were many) and address my concerns regarding my pregnancy. She was there for the birth and did a fantastic job leading the team. It was a bit of a stressful delivery at the end but Dr. Thomas was very capable and confident in her ability. I recommend her highly. dr. thomas is wonderful- she has been my gyn for the past 3 years-last year i became pregnant and she was my ob- she always took her time with me, answered all my questions and was very caring. my labor was rather difficult in the end and she was very level-headed and professional.if you have any questions please contact me

Jan 2003

Re: hyperemesis during pregnancy

I think that my ob/gyn, Richard Rudd, M.D., would agree that I get the award for one of the worst cases of hyperemesis gravidarum. He saw me through the first four hideous months of hyperemesis with my now 9-year old daughter (which then abated, somewhat), and a hellish 9 mos., 4 days of relentless vomiting, etc. with my just-turned 3-year old son.

Dr. Rudd is really smart, really academmic, and really compassionate. Ultimately, I had i.v. hydration, home nursing, and an in-dwelling cathater in my leg to mitigate the nausea and vomiting. Dr. Rudd was very persistent and knowledgeable about trying different anti-emetics--ones that were non-teratogenic as well as my being able to tolerate them. (I could not tolerate Compazine, for example.) Richard even tried me on Zofran, which is given to chemo patients, and did not work, ultimately. But the point is that he tried and suggested, but did not push it, that if all else failed, and I continued to lose weight (I lost 15 pounds in the beginning and could ill afford to lose even that), that I could always do a tapering program of steroids over at UC. (that the steroid regimen was preferable over surgically inserting an implanted catheter for alimentation) Richard also reassured me, repeatedly, that the baby was healthy, growing fine, etc., that only I, not the baby, was failing. Ultimately, I delivered a healthy heifer of a blue-eyed, blonde-haired cherubic baby boy. And even continued to vomit during delivery. I wish you luck; I wanted to die during that pregnancy, and people say you forget, but I haven't. Danna


April 2002

I called to make an appointment with someone in the Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health OB/GYN practice after reading lots of praise for Drs. Honneker, Girard, and Sakamoto in the archives, but they've scheduled me with a Dr. Foley, who's not mentioned in the archives. Anybody seen him/her? Praise? Criticism? Elise

I got a recommendation from a friend who is an RN and delivered her son with Dr. Honegger, to the Berkeley-Orinda practice.

I too was scheduled with Dr. Foley, since Dr. Honegger is semi-retired. I've been seeing her since October for pre-natal care and my overall opinion is that she's great.

Dr. Foley is the newest doctor in the practice and is quite young, I'd guess she's in her mid-thirties if that. Her general manner in office visits is what I'd describe as 'kindly-professional'. She makes good eye-contact with me when we speak, and listens to my concerns, answers my questions and is very upfront about informing me about options in my care.

I'm taking Bradley Method classes with my husband and once we got halfway through the class sequence, we had a huge long list of questions to ask her about Alta Bates and her own policies and philosophies about birth.

I was very pleased to find that in her answers she was receptive and understanding of our desire to have a natural childbirth and very supportive of the decision. She also didn't strike me as being a doctor who is overly fond of pushing various interventions on a couple who doesn't want them. Her attitude was very open and her general policy seems to be that barring emergency needs, most decisions regarding labor and childbirth should be discussed between patient and doctor. If you're expecting and would like more details about what we talked about, feel free to email me:)

My only complaints about the practice (the Berkeley office) as a whole, is that like so many other practices, appointments are scheduled in 15 minute slots, and it's devilishly difficult to get through to the front desk to make an appointment. It took me 4 weeks to get through to a human being at the desk to make my initial appointment, after leaving voicemail after voicemail with the receptionist.

Also, while Dr. Foley is very accomodating and willing to answer my questions, the practice sees a lot of patients and if my 15 minute slot starts to run over, she can occasionally seem rushed, especially if she's in the practice alone on any given day as can happen.

I'm feeling confident however, that we chose the right doctor for our needs, despite the annoyances of dealing with the front desk staff and the occasional brusque nurse. Beth

Dr. Foley is wonderful. I saw her a few times during my routine visits to their office for my last pregnancy and always found her warm and attentive. I had severe sciatica at the end of my pregnancy and had some questions about inducing b/c of it. I had a lot of concerns about induction, and Dr. Foley spoke with me about it, answering my concerns and questions in a thoughtful and caring manner, but w/o pushing me towards or away from induction. I felt like she really listened to me and gave me the information I needed to make an informed decision. Jenifer

Dr. Foley is the newest doctor in the practice. I had an appointment with her several weeks ago and really liked her -- she was both knowledgeable and very friendly/kind (I'm 7 months pregnant so am now seeing all the doctors in that practice, since any one of them could deliver my baby). Dr. Honegger, my primary OB, told me that Dr. Foley was very heavily recruited by various high-profile practices in SF and the East Bay, including my former WONDERFUL SF-based practice called Bayspring. Apparently Dr. Foley turned down Bayspring to join the Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health group, even though she lives in SF. All good news for your choice of doctor and office! - Stacy

I saw Dr Foley a few times during my recent pregnancy. I think she is really great. She isn't mentioned in the archives because she is new to the practice but I felt she was just as good as the other Dr's in the practice. She probably took more time with me during my appointments than any of the other Dr's in the practice. Gabrielle

I am a patient of Dr. Honegger's, but Jill Foley attended the birth of my son. Dr. Foley was absolutely great, I really can't say enough about her. She spent hours with me during my labor and was encouraging and patient with my very long pushing phase (3 hours), never once mentioning the possibility of a c-section. When my doula asked her about episiotomies she replied that she doesn't do them. y husband claims that her calm demeanor had a hugely positive effect on his nervousness at facing his first experience in the labor/delivery room. I too felt so secure in her competent care. I feel that having her as my doctor largely contributed to my positive birth experience, mostly because of her caring, calm and optimistic attitude. Prior to my birth I had two office appointments with her and again she was wonderful. She didn't try to rush me out and answered all my questions, even though it was obvious by the crowd in the waiting room that she was very busy. I HIGHLY recommend her. Dinah Mattick

My husband and I both immediately liked Dr. Foley the first time we met her. She is very personable. However, I had a pregnancy that was threatening to become high-risk (which fortunately it did not) and I didn't feel comfortable that she had the experience (or perhaps the attention to detail?) to follow up. I switched to another practice. In one instance, I had to remind her that I needed an important follow-up test for a cvs. Another time, I called her to have test results passed on to another doctor, and instead of faxing the results to them, she left them on my home answering machine which, of course the other office wouldn't accept. So, I guess it would depend on whether you need routine care from her or something more.

I would also stay very on top of any paperwork that you need to have sent anywhere from that office - I had a battle every single time I either tried to get something sent, or tried to get copies myself. One time, I was told that they would fax something right away, then told that they needed more information, then told that they were NEVER allowed to fax medical information, and that if I wanted it right away would have to pick it up myself in the Orinda office (where they keep the records), and this was just one such instance. In one case, I actually had to get the lab to send test results because Berkeley Orinda Womens Health couldn't get their act together!

I just started seeing Dr. Foley for a new pregnancy. She was recommended to me by my first child's pediatrician who had seen another Dr. at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health for her recent pregnancy and birth. Dr. Foley is new to the practice, which is probably why you couldn't find info on her. I have only seen her once, but I feel very comfortable with her and confident of her skills. She handled all my questions (I have some concerns about the pregnancy) with sensitivity and evident knowledge. I was also very impressed with the efficiency of the office, without making me feel rushed (but I've only been to one visit, like I said). Dr. Foley is relatively young, in her mid-thirties maybe, which I like. I'm not sure how available the other, more established Dr's are, but I'd recommend that you give her a try. Jessica

Aug 2002

I cannot say enough about OBGYN Fertility Specialists in Berkeley. My OB was Dr. Matlock for both of my pregnancies. I do not know her experience with complicated pregnancies, though my babies were both 'sunny side up' which I later learned is a complication. I do know that there is another Dr. in the practice named Dr. Lanner Cusin who is very very good. She has a solid reputation at least with the nurses at Alta Bates. They all know and love her it seems. She was the doctor who determined that my first child was breech, and then successfully turned her around. It was very impressive! I would highly recommend any of the doctor's there, but would try to see Dr. Lanner or Dr. Matlock. Also, I have not had any rude experiences there. Actually, quite the opposite! Angela

If you're interested in an all-female group, I only know of that delivers at Alta Bates, the one at 2915 Telegraph. It's listed on the website, and is very busy. Personally, I found it a very difficult practice to work with and moved to Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health which has both men and women and I liked the men in the group there much better than the women in the 2915 group: I found that they were proactive and helpful and would call me back. I know everyone thinks they want a female OB (and I thought I did for my first) but I'd rather have a good and personable clinician than fixating on any gender, but YMMV. Mom who delivered three kids at Alta Bates

I am a patient of Dr. Angelyn Thomas, Dr. Gentry's partner in her practice. Dr. Thomas delivered my son last Aug. I only saw Dr. Gentry once, so I can't speak to her abilities, but I can say that I was always happy with my experience at their office. Their nurses and reception staff are professional and friendly. I can also say that if Dr. Thomas happens to be on call when you go into labor, you will be in good hands. She does have a somewhat traditional bent (I think I was her first patient to use a doula) but I felt very well cared for by her. I particularly liked the fact that she is a good listener. Good luck! AM

June 2002

Re: RN for Ob/Gyn
My ob/gyn is Katarina Lanner-Cusin at Ob/gyn and Fertility Group. I recently saw her RN, Alice Kannon, who I thought was really great. I would definitely see her for routine checkups. KMS

April 2002

I am very pleased you asked. I am so in awe of my OBGYN...Betsey Kanwit at OBGYN Fertlity group in Berkeley. I was/am always treated with respect and kindness at this office and I adore all of the doctors in the practice. I have been a patient ther since 1995 when I first became pregnant. Good luck to you!! Danielle

Aug 2001

regarding recurrent miscarriages ...

As far as OB/GYNs are concerned I've found Katarina Lanner-Cusin at OB/GYN and Fertility Specialists to be compassionate, careful and conservative in dealing with miscarriage. (Although I'm not sure she's taking new patients.) When I'm in my first trimester she is basically willing to see me as often as I want to do heartbeat checks (after 10 weeks) or to send me for an ultrasound (before 10 weeks). (Don't let them do an in-office ultrasound there. I don't think they know enough.) She was also willing to order as many tests as I wanted to investigate underlying causes even though she was clear with me that her personal opinion was that I had just had some bad luck. Best wishes to you in this very difficult time.


I couldn't be happier with the Ob/Gyn practice I belong to: Berkeley- Orinda Women's Health, and their Berkeley office is accross Alta Bates. My primary doctor is Marilyn Honegger. She has delivered my first son, 18 months old, and is now responsible for the pre-natal care of my second child under way. She is one of the most professional, knowledgable, respectful, caring, and sincere people I have ever met. I have had the same type of experience with the other doctors -- Dr. Gerard, Dr. Sakamoto and Dr. Wharton. I moved from Asia 7 months pregnant and was referred to their practice by a friend. They suggest you meet all the doctors during pre-natal care since it is the doctor on call who will be present during labor. As a result, I had a hard time to select my primary doctor... I find the nurses and staff equaly nurturing and respectful. Regarding office wait, I find that there is no such thing as the on time appointment. Nonetheless, the wait at their office is fairly short. The longest I've waited is 20 minutes, and if the doctors are going to be substantially late due to emergencies, the office notifies you immediatelly. Their number in Berkeley is 510-845-4200 and Orinda is 925-254-9000. Good luck! Valeria

I go to Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health and see Kurt Wharton, I like the practice very much (4 drs. and one nurse practitioner) Of all of the drs. there is only one that I didn't connect with. I expressed these feelings to Dr. Wharton before when I was pregnant with my son and was told not too worry, if that Dr. was on call when I went into labor they would make arrangements for someone else to handle it. I'm sure that dr. is very capable, and I know people who like him very much, so I'm not suggesting that he is an inferior dr - just not right for me. The long and the short is that it is a very good practice and I'm sure that you will be able to find a fit that's right for you.

I switched to this practice when my private practice OB-GYN left the area. A trusted friend recommended I see Dr. Wharton, and he is now my official OB-GYN. I especially appreciate his respect, warmth, knowledge, and communication skills. During my second pregnancy in 1998, I was high-risk for a while and got to see and know all of the members of the group fairly well. Of course, each has his/her own unique bed-side manner, but I always felt I was in the best of hands. I remember Dr. Sakamoto's attention to detail, Dr. Girard's conversation, and Dr. Honegger's confidence. Dr. Honegger ended up delivering my son. He came into the world fast, and Dr. Honegger was wonderfully calm, efficient, reassuring, and performed the necessary episiotomy very well. Also, the nurses and the front-office staff are easy to work with and always helpful. Best of luck.

I had my two chidren with them (the last one 3 month ago)and I am very appreciative of them. It is a small practice of 4 doctors all nice : a woman, Dr Honneger, very good, who I saw practicing during the delivery of a friend of mine, my regular doctor, the oldest of the practice (early fifties)Dr John Girard soft and gentle but maybe too cool, Dr Sakamoto, very professionaland pleasant, and ready to spend time explaining , and finally, Dr Wharton, the youngest (early forties) who was twice the one in call when I had my babies, who is apparently quite bright and well-known, but a little bit too commercial for my taste (smiles like you are his best friend). In any case, I believe they are all competent and there is really none of them that I would not recommend.Then it is a question of personal matter ( Dr Wharton did not push me to have an epidural, I know that Dr Girard is pro-epidural, and Dr Honneger was present very early during the non-medicated labor of my friend and was very supportive the whole time). You can be sure that you will have one of them for your delivery because they don't share the in-calls with any other practice. They will also have you meet with each of them so that you will have a chance to know everybody. The administrative staff is nice too, but I don't particularly care for the nurses at their Berkeley office. Good luck. I am ready to answer any other question that you would want to ask.

I am now pregnant with my second son, who is due May 2, and I have had such mixed experiences with B-O Women's Health that I am looking for new doctors. Dr. Honegger is great, but she's apparently working only half-time and I've only seen her once and talked to her one other time, though we had weird amnio results and had lots of testing. I also liked Dr. Wharton, though I've only met him once and talked to him on the phone a few times. I did not care for Dr. Sakamoto, whom I saw most recently; he was rude and patronizing to me. Since the main doctor getting raves in the reviews was Dr. Honegger, I am not happy about having less than a 25% chance of having her deliver my baby. The practice is also incredibly busy. I've been rescheduled a couple of times and apparently they lost a lot of the Orinda staff recently, so when I asked Dr. Sakamoto about test results that should have been in my file weeks ago, they weren't in there yet. The testing that was to have been done on my husband was done wrong because they filled out the form incompletely, and I still haven't heard officially about the sex of my son (we all saw the penis clearly at the u/s), though I have called specifically to ask. On the good side, the two staff at the desk in Berkeley are very nice even though they are obviously totally stressed, and this is a big difference from the Matlock/Kanwit practice that delivered my first son.

My Ob-Gyn is Dr. Wharton at Berkeley-Orinda Womens Health whom I highly recommend. I was referred to him by my primary care physician Dr. John Jones of Alta Bates Medical Associates whom I have the utmost confidence in. I had originally hoped to have a female obstetrician but when I first met Dr. Wharton he made me feel so comfortable and was so gentle that I felt extremely lucky to have him as my Dr. He always allowed time at the end of each exam for me to ask questions and was never condescending. I was lucky enough to have him deliver my daughter and everything went great. I had told him I didn't want an episiotomy (who does!) and he really seemed to make that a priority. He always put my mind at ease whenever I had a concern. The other drs in the practice were all very friendly with the exception of Dr. Honneger (I only met her once however), ironic since she is the only female and I had originally preferred a female dr. She was rather rough when she examined me-really pressed hard on my abdomon to determine the position the baby was in, none of the other drs. did this. But I would have been comfortable with any one of them delivering my baby. They were all very confident and apparently they all share the same views so if you get someone other than your main dr. delivering your baby you wont have to worry about things not going the way you want them to.

Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is part of the Alta-Bates Medical Group. John Girard delivered our daughter. She was seven weeks premature, so it was a tense situation. They're nice people, easy to talk to, listen well. They make sure that their OB patients see each of the doctors in the group, so that when D-Day comes and you get whoever is on call, you are not treated by a stranger.

From: G

i second the recommendation for john girard. he is my doc, and successfully saw me through 5 pregnacies. he takes time, makes sure questions are answered, is generally supportive of what your wishes are, and is willing to listen to his patients. the other docs in the practice are good as well, and you meet them all in the course of the pregnancy--no surprises at delivery time.

I can recomend highly Marilyn Honnegger at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health. However, She is in a group with three men and you may or may not get her for a delivery. For what it's worth, I found that the men in this group (in particular Kurt Wharton) to be very kind and helpful (in fact, perhaps a little more sympathetic than the female OB I had used for pregnancy of my first child). They take FHP/Take Care and deliver at Alta Bates.


re: ob/gyn. I would highly recommend the practice (also at 2999 Regent) of Dr.'s Sakamoto, Wharton, Girard and Honnegger (female). I don't know off hand if they are taking new patients but I have been with them through routine care and almost two full pregnancies and could not be happier. The number is 845-4200 in Berkeley. They also have an office in Orinda.


I have a recommendation for a female OB/GYN. Her name is Marilyn Honneger of the Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health group. Her office has 3 other docs who are all great. They are in the Huntmont building at 2999 Regent St. on the 7th floor suite 701. 510-845-4200. As their name implies, they also have an office in Orinda, and they work out of Alta Bates Hospital. I've had my two daughters with this group, and I feel very comfortable with their practice.


I used Marilyn Honegger for my first child's delivery and liked HER very much; however, I have one caveat for anybody who goes with a practice like this where you may not get your primary Ob/Gyn for the delivery. You should make sure you like ALL the doctors you may get. The doctors in Honegger's practice were all great; however, they had this arrangement with another practice of three doctors where you might get one of them for the delivery (about 10% chance, they told me). (This was two years ago; they may have changed this practice by now.)

Well, it ended up that one of those other three doctors was awful. And guess who I got stuck with for my delivery! I could go on and on about how terrible this doctor was and how everything about my delivery went against my hopes and beliefs and about how I ended up with a totally unnecessary 4th-degree tear.

If I ever have another child it will be with a doctor or better yet, a midwife, who promises to be there for the delivery.

I had an extremely difficult pregnancy requiring 17 weeks of bedrest and several stays at the hospital starting at 20 weeks, and I had Dr. Marilyn Honegger as my OB so I can say without a doubt that she is exceptional. I also dealt with Drs. Wharton, Girard and Sakamoto frequently and found all of them to be wonderful with great bedside manners. I highly recommend this practice to anyone seeking terrific OB care. They have offices in both Berkeley and Orinda.

From: Jeanne

I am very interested in information about how you got PacificCare to pay for a midwife. I had my first child in 5/95 with Marilyn Honegger in the Alta Bates Medical Group. I had 2 doulas, Janaki Costello and her assistant, Anna, at the delivery and it really helped. I had pre-eclampsia that did not clear up. Honegger discharged me too early, 24 hours after the birth, and I had to go back into the hospital a couple of days later. I almost had a stroke. I think that my OB could have kept me in the hospital longer if she had fought with the insurance company. I am planning for my second child and would like to use a midwife. Did you use an OB with a midwife? I would appreciate any information.

I was quite happy with Dr. Betsy Kanwit. Practices with Drs. Lanner-Cusin and Matlock, on Telegraph, around the corner from Alta Bates. Tel: 845-8047.

Staff - friendly. Office - efficient. Doctors - nice, good. Won't spend as much time with you as a midwife might, but that's typical. I also found them a little less conservative than I wanted to be. They said over-the-counter medications ok after first trimester, but I didn't want to take anything. But that's where you make your own judgements. They try to avoid epiosiotomies I guess, but in the end, they do whatever they feel is necessary.

One drawback - but you get this with many practices - is they share delivery duty with another practice. So while you can get to know these three during your prenatal visits, your baby could be delivered by one of six doctors in the other practice whom you won't have met. One of those has a rather bad reputation. But in summary, I'd recommend the practice.

Dr. Lanner-Cusin is wonderful. A couple of months ago, she was taking new patients. I know how hard it is, and my cousin who is a OB in Murin recommended her. Wonderful manner and very informative. Marci

From: Melissa

First of all, I saw Betsy Kanwit through both of my pregnancies/childbirths, and think very, very highly of her. My annual visit with her is always a joy, as we catch up on our families, and the other moms I know who saw her for their birth experiences (ca. 8-12 years ago) had great stories, too. I posted a more detailed recommendation for her to the list just a couple of months ago, so I won't go over it again. If you want to ask me specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me. I really like Betsy.

From: sabrina

To briefly recommend an OB/GYN: I have gone to Dr. Lanner-Cusein for years (practice is on Telegraph near Alta Bates). She is amazing. Now that I am pregnant, I go into her practice monthly, and have seen some of her collegues as well, one of whom is Dr. Kanwit. I can highly recommend her, too. Both truly give a sense of confidence, are warm and excellent doctors. Good luck!

To the person inquiring about OB/GYNs affiliated with Alta Bates I can't help but respond in order to agree with the messages praising Dr. Lanner-Cusin at ob-gyn & fertility specialists Medical Group (510-845-8047). I switched to her 6 months into my pregnancy after a terrible experience with another doctor. In the short time that I received Dr. Lanner-Cusin's pre-natal care, I found her to be nothing short of fabulous. Although her office is very busy, it is efficiently run and the staff is extremely friendly, informative and supportive. The other Drs. there ( Matlock and Kanwit) are also great. In the few months remaining of my pregnancy, I felt that I got more than I had hoped for in terms of support, well-informed care, and unbridled enthusiasm for the venture of having this (now 11 month old) miracle. Dr. Lanner-Cusin didn't even deliver our baby (we had Dr. Keller from the practice with which they share call--who was great) and I actually look forward to my annual exam because she's so terrific. Good luck to you....

From: FTR

I have to pitch in with my opinion - Katarina Lanner-Cusin was my OB and I thought she was fabulous. I was seeing Risa Kagan as my gynecologist, and when I became pregnant was disappointed to learn she had discontinued her obstetric practice, but she referred me to Lanner-Cusin, whom I found to be excellent. Dr. Kagan stayed very involved with the progress of my pregnancy and was especially supportive as I got very anxious towards the end. Beth Matlock delivered my baby and I liked her very much too. My only experience with Dr. Kanwit has been a single phone consultatation with her for a post-partum question, but she was helpful and pleasant (she also returned my non-urgent call very promptly). My strong impression is (and confirmed by a friend's father who is a local pediatrician) that the group is a very high-quality one.

From: Heike

RE: Betsy Kanwit The first and only time I saw Betsy was at my delivery. Having seen all the doctors in my practice, fate presented me with a doctor on call from another group at Alta Bates. I loved her. She was all excited about delivering my baby. She gave me confidence, helped me remember how to push, and gave me a mirror to look at my pushing efforts. Her eyes were glowing with as much joy as my husband's. She complimented every push of mine, became my best female friend for these few, important minutes of my life, and 15 minutes later my baby was born and I read Dr. Kanwit's name later on the hospital bracelet. (She had certainly introduced herself, but of course, I didn't remember her name in the final steps of birth). I am not negating anyone's bad experiences with her, but I loved having her as the doctor on call who delivered my baby.

From: Lucia

I'm sorry that others have had negative experiences with Dr. Kanwit b/c I think she is a very capable Dr. She is my OB and I have to say that I've been very pleased with her....... I had special circumstances and was put on bed rest and she saw me each week starting my 27th week. I liked all the Dr.s in that practice and feel confident of their professional abilities........ I would recommend her and the practice to my friends.

From: Heather

Beth Matlock was my official Ob/Gyn for my delivery in March of 1996, so I saw many of the doctors in that practice. Resa Kagan no longer sees patients on HMOs; I heard that she is excellent.

My favorite doctor in the practice was Vickie-Lee Edge but when I went in in September for a consultation, they said she was out on leave. I liked Dr. Edge because she always took the time to ask me whether I had questions before she started the exam. I had to force the others to answer questions sometimes. I think it's just a very big practice, and it felt pretty impersonal until I started seeing Dr. Edge. We're trying to conceive again now, and since Dr. Edge isn't available, I don't think I'll go back to that practice.

I had a baby about 19 months ago and am a patient of Beth Matlock. It is true that the front office can be a nightmare, but if you get to know some of the people at the front desk and consistently speak to one person on the phone to schedule appointments, administrative matters can go relatively smoothly. The medical care I received from all the nurses and doctors in this practice was excellent. I was monitored particularly closely during my pregnancy and post-natal period, so I had more contact with the office than most women probably do. The confidence I have in the practice's medical expertise counterbalances the occasional administrative frustration I encounter. I recommend this practice highly. Gail

I had been with Betsy Kanwit before she moved to this practice. I was seeing her for infertility problems . She has always been very friendly and concerned. She was very there for me in my surgeries, including being an advocate when my insurance wanted to kick me out of the hospital too soon. However, my problems did not change and my husband and I moved on to adoption. When the birth-mother of our prospective daughter came to live with us and had MediCal only, I called Betsy. She agreed to take her on. She was very supportive as we both went to the visits. Dr. Matlock was on call when delivery time came and although I hadn't thought much of her bedside manner in the office, I really appreciated when she asked me if I wanted to cut the cord, which in my case was an incredibly symbolic act. I'm at Kaiser now but I just wanted to toss in a good word. Tina

Okay, here's my Elizabeth Kanwit story. Our regular OB was not available when we finally made it to the hospital, two weeks past our due date. After a long labor, we had to have a C-section. Dr. Kanwit gave us plenty of time to discuss this option in a respectful manner, she never pushed us and gave us time alone to discuss with our doula.

The actual surgery, which I witnessed, was amazing in how swiftly and together Dr. Kanwit worked with the staff surgeon. What a tight team, they were truly awesome to watch. I was pleased that we ended up with this doctor, even though I only met her at the hospital and not during prenatal care. Nobody wants a c-section, but if it does happen, Dr. Kanwit is a terrific doc to have. A Dad

I'd just like to add my .02 to the discussion of the ob/gyn group that includes Betsy Kanwit. My children (admittedly older, now 8 and 11) were both delivered safely, happily, and without episiotomy by Betsy. She was my dr. throughout, and one of those births was definitely not routine. I felt extraordinarily well cared for throughout both of those pregnancies and deliveries. She also delivered the babies of friends during that time, and we all love her dearly. I continue to see her annually, and feel I get excellent care from her.

In one instance, I know she responded to an emergency delivery of a woman who had seen her *once* but opted for a home/midwife delivery. The home delivery was failing to progress, the laboring mom called her, and Betsy showed up at the hospital to complete the difficult delivery of a 10+ lb first born child. I think that was rather heroic. While I don't recommend you take this approach to delivery :-), I do continue to recommend Betsy. Melissa