UCSF Benioff Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek
(510) 444-0790
  • Oakland: 350 30th Street, Suite 208  510-444-0790
  • Berkeley: 3000 Colby Street, Suite 301  510-597-1863
  • Walnut Creek: 2970 Camino Diablo, Suite 210  925-979-9350

MDs in this practice: Jonathan Weiss, David Marinoff, Janet Goldman, Autumn Broady, Sharon Hood, Seth Hawkins

Some doctors in this practice were formerly known as East Bay Perinatal.

Parent Reviews

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RE: High risk OB-GYN (non-kaiser) ()

I really liked Dr. Marinoff in Berkeley, but I'm not sure if he's taking new patients.

I don't have an autoimmune condition, but had serious health concerns with both of my pregnancies. I also highly recommend UCSF MFMs, specifically Dr. David Marinoff. He saw me through two healthy deliveries. He always took the time to explain everything thoroughly and give me choices along the way. Good luck! 

Hi there,

I recently gave birth and have lupus. I received excellent care from the team at UCSF Benioff Maternal Fetal Medicine located on Telegraph and Ashby. They have a relationship with Alta Bates hospital where all the  antipartem testing takes place and where I delivered.  We had a fantastic midwife named Lior Mayer.

Hope this helps. 

Hi there! I can only speak to the post-delivery care of the newborns, but if all else is relatively equal for your maternal care, I would absolutely choose UCSF Mission Bay for the NICU there. The providers (MDs, NPs, RNs) are truly top-notch, and that way you're setting the babies up for the best possible care they can receive in the Bay Area. (Hopefully they won't need NICU-level care, but they might.) Full disclosure, I'm a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (in another specialty) and would absolutely choose to deliver at UCSF Mission Bay. Best of luck to you!

Please take this with a grain of salt as I delivered my first child 10 years ago (!) and it was not high risk, aside from my age (37). I also developed polyhydramnios later in the pregnancy but it was not a big issue aside from being extremely uncomfortable. That said, I loved the care I got from UCSF (at the time they were still at the Parnassus campus) for both my pregnancies, and many of the staff are still there. I had prenatal care mostly with Sharon Weiner and Suzanne ? (I don't remember her last name, but she is no longer there), both nurse-midwives. My daughter was delivered by Dr. Kamali and my son (the younger one) by Dr. Li. The nursing staff was supportive and gentle. Because it is a research institution, I felt secure that if anything went wrong with the pregnancy, they would have the latest advances at their disposal. You should be aware, though, that because it is a teaching hospital, there will likely be lots of folks (residents, students, etc.) in the room. I didn't mind, but some might. Good luck to you -- sending lots of good thoughts your way for a healthy pregnancy and birth!

I had a high-risk pregnancy birth due to a very different issue than yours (my chronic disease - a blood-clotting disorder), and I cannot recommend UCSF enough for those of us with higher-risk pregnancies. The maternal-fetal medical team there is really top notch - beyond caring well for you as a general pregnant individual, they're also up-to-date on all of the latest research within their specialty, and the nurses are used to handling more complicated patients and procedures. The facilities are also top-notch.

I had a high risk identical twin pregnancy (mono/di) and got my care through UCSF at Mission Bay. I developed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and had to have a very rare and risky procedure that is only done at UCSF and a few other locations in this country. I also spent the last 6 weeks inpatient and the facilities there are incredible (felt more like a hotel than a hospital). You will also likely need to be hospitalized for a few/many weeks at the end of your pregnancy for monitoring and the facilities and medical team at UCSF cannot be matched. (I delivered my next low-risk pregnancy at Alta Bates and I would have gone crazy if I had to stay there more than a few days).  I highly highly recommend and got excellent quality care. Feel free to message me if you have additional questions. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2008

I plan to switch from my current OB to midwife Lindy Johnson who has gotten great reviews on BPN. I know that she uses East Bay Perinatal as backup in the event of a c-section and since I had a c-section with my first, I'm looking for feedback from anyone who used East Bay Perinatal as their OB. I am not finding much about them online and would love to know if there are particular doctors to look out for (both good and bad) and if anyone has had a c-section delivery with them. I'm hoping for a vbac, but you never know. Any advice? I love my current OB, but she is not very encouraging about the vbac, whereas Lindy seems very hopeful.

I had to use East Bay Perinatal when Alta Bates merged their perinatal clinic with Sutter's. I was a patient of David Marinoff's at Alta Bates and at EBP after the merge. He performed both of my high risk C section deliveries- the second of which was at 28 weeks gestation! Dr. Marinoff was the BEST doctor I ever encountered. He listened to all of my concerns and puts the patient first. He would even go to the NICU to visit my baby when he was working at the hospital! I did NOT like Dr. Weiss' bedside manner, though he is highly qualified. I had limited contact with the other doctors, but they know what they are doing as far as high risk patient care. anon

I have seen the docs at EB Perinatal only for gestational diabetes but have seen quite a bit of them & talked with my regular OB about them. Dr Goldman - very, very straight forward but not warm/fuzzy or anything along those lines. Dr Lovett - supposedly very laid back - have only talked with him once or twice. Dr Fong - very nice & supportive. Dr. depalma - did not like his vibe much and would not pick him as my ob. Dr. Marinoff (did an amnio for me a few years back) - warm, great bedside manner and very responsive. I think its like many things - luck of the draw. With so many docs, you get who ever is on call. I imagine they are fine. good luck

Lindy works with East Bay Perinates, the group that staffs Alta Bates L OBs and CNMs 24/7. They work 12 hour shifts, so whoever is on that day is who you get if Lindy needs a backup MD consult or you need a c-section. You don't have a choice, really. If you wind up with a scheduled c-section for some reason, you may have a choice of MD, but usually the perinatologist scheduled for the day does the weekday scheduled c-sections. I used to work there as an RN and things may have changed but I doubt it ... anonymous

I saw Lindy for my prenatal care and she was WONDERFUL. I very much wanted a no-drugs vaginal birth, had even considered a homebirth. Well, our little guy was a footling breech and a c-section with Dr. Eve Yalom of EB Perinatal was what we ended up with. I must say that even though I was terribly disappointed to have had a c, Lindy made the experience great, she was with me in the room, she did my follow-up care, and I will return to her in a couple of years for a VBAC, I hope. Dr. Yalom was a skilled surgeon, my c was a bit tricky, and warm and kind. I was very happy with her. The nurses in recovery at Alta Bates were also fabulous. I also saw another doc in EB perinatal for my 20 week u/s (can't remember his name) and he was also very good, thorough and not rushed. I know another mom who had a c under Lindy's care and was also very satisfied with the care. Catherine

Feb 2008

I'm wondering about amnio experiences with Dr. Weiss at East Bay Perinatal. If you've seen him recently, I'd love to hear if you've had a positive or negative experience. Thanks. Nervous mom

I had an amnio with Dr Weiss at EB Perinatal in December and I liked him very much and think he did a good job. He did question me as to why I wanted an amnio when the screening tests looked very good and ultrasound looked good too (I am 38 yrs old). I appreciated that he made sure I understood there was some risk factor to the procedure and then gave me some time to discuss it with my husband. When we said we still wanted the amnio then he went ahead. The procedure itself was weird but really not bad. I hope this helps. Laura

I just had my amnio (two actually, as I am having twins) less than two weeks ago with Dr. Weiss, and found him to be warm and reassuring as well as professional. The procedure was quick and uneventful, and Dr. Weiss was great about talking me through the short periods that the needles were in. He also took a fair amount of extra time trying to find out the sexes of our twins during the ultrasound beforehand, as the tech had no luck. No complications and no complaints. J.

April 2007

Hi, I am trying to get feedback for Dr. Jonathan Weiss (East Bay Perinatal) for CVS. I have one baby girl and did not go through any invasive testing when I was pregnant with her. But I just turned 35 and am 8 wks pregnant. After a lot of reading, thinking... we have decided for CVS but we are nervous as the only doc my insurance will cover is Dr. Weiss. Any info on first hand experiences will be really appreciated. The Genetic Counsellor at East Bay Perinatal told me he does between 100-150 cases per year and has a failure rate of 1:200 (which is very different from what I read on the reviews). Unfortunately my insurance will not cover Dr. Goldberg or Dr. Norton. So I am debating whether to pay out of pocket and go to them or to go with Dr. Weiss and have insurance cover all expenses. Thanks for any info that can be shared. - Nervous mom! Nervous mom

When I was looking for a Perinatologist for CVS last August, I also considered Dr.Weiss, but decided to go out of network (and pay out of pocket) to see Dr.Goldberg. My decision was based on Dr.Goldberg's glowing reputation and also because I couldn't find much info on anyone else. Turns out I had to wait to do an amnio instead because my retrograde uterus made CVS impossible, so I can't comment on Dr.Goldberg either. However, for the rest of my pregnancy, I saw and was monitored by Dr.Weiss. He was warm and caring and easy to talk with. He performed an amnio on me and he did a fine job. I would feel comfortable going back to him for CVS. I'll also mention though that the SF practice with Dr.Goldberg is ultra fancy and I felt like it was unnecessarily posh. The East Bay Perinatal office isn't as nice but has perfectly good new equipment. Next time, I don't think I would agree to pay $600+ to go out of network, now that I've met Dr.Weiss and feel comfortable about his competency. I hope this is somewhat helpful to you in your important decision. Good luck. Anon

I had similar apprehensions about Dr. Weiss for the reasons that you mention. In addition, I had a successful CVS performed by Dr. Goldberg several years ago for my first child. After much thought and consultation with my OB, I decided to go to Dr. Weiss. I had a positive experience with him (perhaps even better than with Dr. Goldberg). If we decide to have a third child, I will feel confident about returning to Dr. Weiss. I wish you the best! Pleased with Dr. Weiss

Feb 2007

Could anyone share your experience of high risk pregnancy with either East Bay Perinatal Medical Assosiates (Dr.Marinoff), and UCSF pregnancy care unit?

I am currently almost 10 weeks pregnant with triplets, and slowly trying to plan who to see with my pregnancy. Since I am high risk due to age (41) and triplets, I need to be followed by a perinatologist for my pregnancy, but still I will be followed regularly with my OB too, since my OB team will most likely be the one helping with my labor.

I went to see Dr. Marinoff at East Bay Perinatal Medical Assosiates. While I liked his gentle manner and approach, I could not get a grip of how thoroughly this facility or group of doctors will follow my pregnancy. Also, if I go with E.B.Perinatal doctors, I will give birth at Alta Bates in Berkeley, by C-cestion by my OB, but I also do not know mucy about the level of care that Alta Bates can provide to my most-likely-premature babies.

I went to UCSF websites and read a lot about their high tech and comprehensive care by team of doctors, with front-line NICU at UCSF Children's Hospital, I started to wonder whether I should go to UCSF for my pregnancy/birth/and care of my babies.

The thing is,,,,if I go with UCSF, I do not know any doctors there. I will not be seeing my OB who followed two of my past (difficult) pregnancies. It will be far from my home. ( I live in the East Bay.) Commute is easier if I stay with doctors in the East Bay, but I just wonder what is best for me.

Any recommendations or thoughts?
Pregnant with triplets

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I wanted to write a quick recommendation for East Bay Perinatal as I had all my pre-natal care with them when I was expecting my twins 3 years ago. All the doctors were great, very thorough, and I particularly liked Mickye Adams who I saw most frequently. Having schlepped into SF for fertility treatment it was great to have a short commute, and I was able to schedule appointments for when my older daughter was at preschool. Also, in the later stages of pregnancy, the valet parking outside the EBPMA office was essential.

Alta Bates has a Level III NICU so is well equipped for premature babies. My twins were born full term but one was admitted to the NICU for a couple of days and the staff and neonatologists (esp. Dr Duritz) were great. Good luck whatever you decide! Becky

Congratulations! I am 25 weeks and going to East Bay Perinatal. Overall, the office is good. I'd give it a B+. They are busy, but I like all the doctors I have seen.

The office organization is not so great. I told (by two people) I'd get a call back about the 12 week Nucal test regardless of the results, but they apprently only call with abnormal results. They also ''lost'' my lab results once.

The medical assistants are nice, but rush you through the blood pressure readings. Make sure to sit for 5 minutes before they take it, otherwise it can show too high a reading.

Good luck with the triplets! Anon

Hi- I have experience with the Alta Bates NICU as well as East Bay Perinatal (as well as a few other NICU's). One important factor to consider is that if you have your babies early and they require a lengthy stay in the hospital, it will be much more convenient to be at a hospital that is closer to your home. The Alta Bates NICU is state of the art and is a really physically nice space. All of the doctors at East Bay Perinatal are competent although I did feel shuffled around a bit. If you want more info, feel free to e-mail.

January 2007

Has anyone had a CVS performed recently by Dr. Weiss of East Bay Perinatal? When I asked his office about his numbers, I was told that he performs more than 50 CVS procedures annually and was quoted a miscarriage rate of less than 1%, which is below the national average. However, I know other Bay Area doctors are more experienced with this procedure, performing 100s of CVS procedures annually (e.g., Jim Goldberg, Mary Norton, Carl Otto). I'm considering paying out-of-pocket for the procedure. I've read the archives but they are dated for Dr. Weiss. It would be great to hear about other people's more recent experiences with Dr. Weiss! Thanks! Anonymous

Dr. Weiss barely spoke to me or explained what he was doing during my procedure. He even wore the earpiece to his phone during the entire procedure. He numbed my cervix without asking me and just mentioned it in passing when the procedure was over. I did bleed for a few days afterward, though everything turned out fine. On the upside, I got my results back quickly -- not sure if everyone does that or if they are particularly fast. Anon

Jan 2007

Re: Need recommendations for amnio

I had an amniocentecis in early January at East Bay Perinatal in Oakland. I don't remember the docotor's name, however, she was Asian and was very nice and comforting during the procedure. She explained the procedure and what it would feel like for me (like drawing blood). Since it was my first anminocentesis, they provided genetic counseling before the procedure where they ask you about your family's health history and walk you through a few chromosome charts. It really made me understand the importance of knowing yours and your partner's health history. Try to schedule your appointment first thing in the morning to minimize your wait times as schedules back up. Pregnant with second child

I had my amnio done at East Bay Perinatal by Dr. Marinoff, I think? He was great. I did not have any screening done beforehand; I knew that at age 37, I wanted the amnio no matter what. It really depends on what you believe the risks are and how you feel about having an unexpected outcome of your pregnancy. It's such a personal decision. I asked my OB: ''What would you tell you daughter to do?'' He said he'd tell her to get the amnio no matter how old she was. I was, however, very apprehensive about the procedure, the pain, the needle, that I might do something afterward to cause a miscarriage, etc. It turned out to be nothing. The pain, for me, was less than the pain I feel when getting my blood drawn. The sensation of the amnio was definitely strange and disconcerting. I did not ever look at the needle. I felt a little weird afterward for a few hours. All in all, my main feeling was, ''Gosh, I wish I hadn't wasted all that time worrying.'' If I ever got pregnant again, I would not hesitate to get an amnio. The only thing I might consider would be CVS, in order to get the results earlier. That way, if the news were really bad and I chose to terminate the pregnancy, I wouldn't be so far along. Good luck with your decision! Happy to have the amnio

I had an amnio at East Bay Perinatal in April 2005 (I think it was Dr. Weiss, but not sure) and found the people I worked with (doctor, technicians and genetic counselor) to be warm, caring and competent. Their manner and answers went a long way towards relieving my anxiety about the procedure, but, honestly, the best thing was hearing other people's stories of success. When I heard I had to have an amnio and freaked out a little bit, I started talking to my girlfriends and almost every one of them had a story about an uneventful amnio and subsequent healthy baby, and those that didn't referred me to their friends who did. It was so reassuring and wonderful to see how much people cared. One other thing that helped calm me was doing some visualization of the procedure going well, my body healing, and the baby being delivered healthy -- it sounds a little silly, but if nothing else it made me feel like I was doing something to go through that mental exercise every day, since there really isn't anything physical you can do to affect the procedure, and I'm the kind of person who likes to feel like I'm doing something. I would do an amnio again without hesitation, because of the peace of mind -- if I hadn't had the amnio, I would have been worrying right up to delivery that maybe the baby had Downs, and it really would have hampered my ability to enjoy the pregnancy and be excited about the baby coming. Best of luck to you. Healthy baby, no complications

Dec 2006

HI, I'm wondering if anyone can share their recent experience with any staff at East Bay ob/gyn medical associates. I'am looking for an OB for a high risk pregnancy. All the postings are rather old. Any info, good or bad is very much appreciated! anon

I loved East Bay Perinatology Medical group...I went to the office in San Ramon. I saw Dr. Weiss. Did not like so much Dr. DiPalma, but the other MDs that I saw while in the hospital were excellent. Overall, good. They have another office in Oakland that I went to once. They deliver at alta bates. The NICU there is terrific (if you need it) sue

October 2006

Has anyone had CVS with Dr. Weiss at East Bay Perinatal? This is the only place my insurance will cover, and I know he does fewer procedures than docs at UCSF or CPMC, wondering about complication rates...I called the office and they gave me an overall rate of all complications of 1:100

I went to East Bay Perinatal for my CVS, which was performed by Dr. Weiss, in September '04. Like you, it was the only one my insurance covered. The procedure went fine, no complications at all. The genetic counselor was very helpful and informative. Dr. Weiss was not exactly Mr. Bedside Manner -- after I was draped and the initial scan was done by tech, he was in and out of the room and completely done with the procedure in less than five minutes. But, hey, who wants to prolong the time her legs are in stirrups? I didn't even have any spotting after the procedure, and it was very reassuring to me to have the definitive genetic results that early in the pregnancy. Yes, there's definitely a bias in favor of the folks in San Francisco, but they are experienced professionals at East Bay Perinatal too. It's not a choice between a Rolls Royce and a Yugo; it's a choice between a Rolls Royce and a Mercedes. If you're going to look at ''complication rates'' -- and that's not at all a bad idea -- do make sure that you know how different doctors measure and report those, because it may not be apples to apples. Happy with my CVS

I decided to have a CVS with my first pregnancy at East Bay Perinatal in July 2003. Dr. Weiss was the doctor assigned to do the procedure. I did not do much research in advance about CVS. I was over 40 and naively thought that knowing early if there were any problems or complications would be better. I lost my baby immediately after the procedure while still in the office. Dr. Weiss and the nurse didn't handle the situation very well. When the baby's heart beat slowed as they continued to monitor me, they said I should come back after lunch and they would check it again. The nurse shuffled me out the office quickly without much compassion. My husband had already left thinking everything was fine with me and the baby. I was left on my own to wait in the parking lot until the office reopened after lunch. I was not offered a phone or a place to sit. After lunch there was no improvement with the heart beat. Dr. Weiss kept saying, ''this has never happened to ME before.'' I was then told to come back the next day and they would check it again. The baby's heart had stopped by the next morning. I later learned that Dr. Weiss only performed about 6 or 8 CVSs per year. And that he is not well regarded in the OB-GYN community. Here's my advice: Do your research. Consider the triple-screen blood test and then an Amnio as a next step. If you really want a CVS, pay the money and go where they have more experience at California Pacific Medical Center and ask for Dr. Goldberg. They handle hundreds per year and Dr. Goldberg is considered one of the best in the area. Check again with your insurance company. They may allow you to go there if you don't have confidence in East Bay Perinatal. Also schedule your visit with the genetics counselor well before your CVS appointment so you don't have to make a decision that day about what you will do. It is very traumatic to lose a baby at any stage. Make sure you understand the risks and proceed with caution anon

I saw Dr. Weiss for a CVS in early 2005. I had tried to get an appointment at UCSF but couldn't get one within the 'window' you have for the procedurel. For the most part I was happy with my experience, however if I had to do it again, I'd schedule earlier with UCSF. The few complaints I had were: 1) the genetic 'counselor' we had to meet with didn't have answers to our questions (one of which was the complication rate). I thought the appointment with her was a waste of time. 2) the gal who made the appointment told me I had to drink a ton of water beforehand, so I did, then had to wait over an hour only to be told I didn't need to drink the water - I was ready to burst!

Hi, Dr. Weiss performed a CVS for me in the Spring of 2005. I was really terrified, because I had the CVS for my first pregnancy at CPMC where they do many more of them. However, I have to say that my experience with Dr. Weiss was really positive. He was really reassuring, and I had absolutely no problems after the procedure. Obviously, this isn't a risk-free procedure, but I was happy with Dr. Weiss and his practice. If you have anymore questions, feel free to email me. Ann

I had an amnio done at the EastBay Perinatal Center on Telegraph. The staff is VERY nice and they did everything they could to make me comfortable and inform me every step of the way. I can't remember who my doctor there was, but I saw a few (I had to go in twice) But the doctors, nurses & general staff were GREAT! Kelly

Nov 2005

Dr. Johnathan Weiss East Bay Perinatal for CVS prodedure
I have decided to have a CVS test done and Johnathon Weiss is the only Dr. who seems to provide this for women within the East Bay Perinatal /Alta Bates Medical Group. I haven't been able to find out much about him and am very nervous. Other friends and doctors have recommended Jim Goldberg at CPMC in SF but my insurance won't cover him. I'd love to hear more about Dr. Weiss.

I was in your position this summer. I had had a CVS for my first child two years ago at CPMC with Dr. Goldberg, who appears to be universally regarded at THE guy for CVS in the Bay Area. We have since moved to the East Bay, and with my second pregnancy (and insurance with Alta Bates Medical Group) I went to Dr. Weiss in Aug. for a CVS for my second child. I, too, was concerned about the skill and experience of the physician who would be performing the procedure, and we really grilled my OB about Dr. Weiss. We were prepared to pay out of pocket to go to Dr. Goldberg if necessary, but my OB, whom I trust, urged us to save the money and put it towards our kids' education (his words.)

I was worried up until and through the procedure that perhaps we had made the wrong decision. In retrospect, at CPMC they clearly perform many, many more invasive diagnostic procedures on a daily basis than at the East Bay Perinatal group. It is just obvious by the # of staff and patients cycling through the office. Dr. Goldberg is wonderful, funny and very reasuring. Having said that, for my second CVS, Dr. Weiss seemed equally competent and had a great ''bedside manner.'' I think he does enough CVS procedures to be well skilled; it was just clear that CVS for them isn't a large percentage of what they do routinely. (For example, the nurse/tech had to go back to his office to get the equipment to perform the procedure...it seemed odd that the tools were stored in his office.)

My procedure was uneventful and quick, I had no bleeding or cramping following the procedure, and I had the results (all good) back in 6 days (they had estimated 7-10.) So I would feel comfortable recommending Dr. Weiss, although given the choice (at no additional cost) I would choose Dr. Goldberg.

I had a CVS with Dr. Weiss about 3 months ago and it was as painless and comfortable as this procedure can be. (I was going to say it was great, but that seems a little odd considering what happens.)

He seemed very experienced and professional, and not only was he very gentle and explained everything he planned to do (and calmly informed us of his process when he ran into a difficulty), but I was surprised to see he was wearing hospital bracelets: his wife had twins that morning and he came in to take care of my CVS anyway. What a guy, I was really impressed. And no cramping afterwards at all.

It was a huge contrast to my first CVS at a big hospital in the city. Maybe I got him on a bad day, but while the (well known) doctor radiated competence and professionalism, he was neither gentle nor informative. I had a lot of cramping immediately afterwards and was laid up for the full 48 hours. When some guy is sticking a very, very large needle that close to your baby, it makes a big difference (or at least it did to me). Jenna

Dr. Weiss did my CVS about 6 months ago and he was pleasant, professional, quick and seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Given that he is one of few if not the only doctor doing CVSs in the East Bay, that means he does a lot of them, which is what you want. The nurse there was nice and professional too. kw

Dr. Weiss performed my CVS last September. All went well. I can't say it was the most enjoyable medical procedure of my life -- I'd gotten myself in a fair tizzy about the risks of it, although I remained confident that it was the right choice for us for a number of reasons. I was also disappointed that my insurance didn't permit me to see Goldberg, and that was part of what went into my anxiety about the procedure. At the appointment time, East Bay Perinatal will first have you meet with a genetic counselor, who will go over what the procedure involves, what you can and can't learn from it, what the alternatives are, what the risks are, etc. I'd already extensively researched it myself and gone over it all with my OB, so this was a little unnecessary for me (and more than a little strange that they do it all right when you're there for the appointment, but I understand why they do it). It did have the effect of making my husband quite nervous, since he hadn't done all the reading and research I'd done ahead of time, and it was a little upsetting to me to have him suddenly sitting there and saying ''are you sure this is the right thing?'' (I know I'm veering away from sharing an experience that was unique to Dr. Weiss, but I hope this is still useful)

Then, the procedure itself was *remarkably* quick and painless. The most uncomfortable part about it was the speculum (and I will say that about Dr. Weiss -- he needs to learn some better speculum manners. Although it might also be part and parcel of the procedure, since they really do have to crank it open, I guess). You get a nice long u/s before the procedure, and then the procedure itself lasted all of about 30 seconds -- which is also about how long Dr. Weiss was in the room, so don't expect handholding. I didn't have any spotting or cramping at all, and we got a message one week later from the testing lab to ''call for some good news.''

Bottom line, I would do it with East Bay Perinatal again for another pregnancy. I loved having the results that early in my pregnancy. Good luck to you! Anne

Sept 2005

I found out that I am a carrier for Canavan's Disease and am not sure I can get the donor screened (quickly or at all). I have decided to have an Amnio to see if the baby has the disease. Does anyone have feedback on Dr. Mitra at East Bay Perinatal, or East Bay Perinatal Amnio's in general. They say their risk for miscarriage is 1 in 200, versus the national average of 1%. If you have any Jewish ancestry I highly recommend genetic testing before you get pregnant, so you don't face this issue. Thanks, Anna

I saw Dr. Mittra in April of this year when I was pregnant with my twins. I was going to East Bay Perinatal on a monthly basis just as a precaution and ended up seeing him the day I found out the amniotic fluid was low on Twin A (turned out to be nothing at all). Having never met him before this time, I found his style to be very abrupt. He did not answer any of my questions, he did not explain why he was putting me on ''modified'' bedrest and, after consulting with my ob-gyn, he made me much more concerned than I needed to be. I was also very upset when I found out that the fluid was low and he basically told me ''not to cry about it''. To sum it up, I would not recommend Dr. Mittra to anyone. I WOULD highly recommend Dr. Marinoff who has a wonderful way with his patients and is very reassuring. Good luck! dms

I have a experience with Dr. Mitra. During my amnio he detected an irregular heart beat. He gave me very little comfort and information beyond that it ''could lead to heart failure'' and I should come in to see him again in 6 weeks. I know now that irregular heart beats are very common and often self correct as I experienced with my baby. He told me about the heart right before sticking the needle in for the amnio. I cried afterwards and he gave me no comfort. In fact, when I asked how to learn more about the heart condition he replied ''the internet'' and left the room. I hope you can avoid him... Sadie

Sept 2005

I've got an appointment next week for an amnio at East Bay Perinatal (formerly Alta Bates Perinatal?) on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. I'm 35 and will be starting week 16 of pregnancy the day of the procedure. The doctor that is currently scheduled for the amnio is Dr. David Marinoff. Any info about this guy? Did he seem very experienced/competent, etc.? I know the risk for a miscarriage w/ amnio is relatively small (I don't know the exact rate for East Bay Perinatal, but I hear the national average is something like 1 in 200); it's just that I had a miscarriage w/ my prior pregnancy, so I'm trying to be cautious. Thanks for any help/advice you can give.

FYI- the risk for miscarriage is based on the office and doctor's ratio performing the amnio. Ask the doctor what his ratio is as that will ease your mind a bit more. Also, remember the amnio is completely elective (you don't HAVE to have one just b/c you're over 34)-- if you don't have a high risk for any issues (based on your sonograms and/or MSAFP, which btw has a 90% false positive rate) and you aren't comfortable with the procedure, you don't have to do it! LogicalMama

I don't know if you can change your amnio appointment, but if you can, I would go to Cal Pacific's clinic in San Francisco. I had a CVS last year, and can recommend the doctor and the staff there very highly (sorry, I don't remember his name). My OB/GYN recommended that I go to San Francisco for the CVS because she said the doctors at UCSF and Cal Pacific all have more experience (and therefore a lower miscarriage rate) than the doctors she would recommend in the East Bay. Lori

Hello, I totally understand you being cautious about having an amino. I had a scary experience with mine, the tech didn't have the right syringe when Dr. Marinoff was ready to do the draw. Dr. Marinoff was great, very patient and comforting for me. The next morning, I had a lot of cramping and spotting and feared that there were problems, I called and spoke to Dr. Marinoff - he asked a lot of questions and we decided to just hang out at home and if it got worse to go straight to hospital. He then called me back in the afternoon even though the office closed at noon since it was Christmas eve. Everything worked out fine for me! :) anon

We had our amniocentisis done at Alta Bates four years ago so it's been a while, but I'm pretty sure that the doctor who did it was Marinoff. We were very happy with him. He was very competent and also very personable and supportive, willing to answer all our questions and address our anxieties. I have heard that the national average for miscarriages from amnio is 1 in 200 but the average for Alta Bates is more like 1 in 400 because they are so specialized. Good luck

Dr. Marinoff was the perinatologist present when trisomy 13 was diagnosed in our 12 week old fetus. He was very empathetic in delivering such horrible news. He performed an ultrasound during this pregnancy to confirm the ultrasound diagnosis, which was unfortunately correct. He was also my wife's perinatologist for her subsequent pregnancy (which ended up being high risk) and he was always extremely cautious. My wife was induced two weeks early as evidence suggested that the fetus may be IUGR. In the end my wife gave birth (delivered by our midwife and a great nurse) to a healthy boy. Through it all Dr. Marinoff was always deeply interested in our and our child's wellbeing. If there's a doctor to see in that group, it's him. Good luck. jonah

Dr. Marinoff is terrific. He performed multiple amnios on me, due to a triplet pregnancy and a complication around the birth. He is knowledgeable, caring, compassionate and... well... I can't say enough. Email me if you want to know more. Isabelle

Aug 2005

Hi, I would like current perinatologist recommendations. I have two - Janet Goldman - who is listed at Alta Bates, but BPN doesn't have a current recommendation. The second is Mary Norton in San Francisco, same thing. I am also interested in other recommendations especially in San Francisco, BPN has some but they are generally older. I am interested in someone that can do a consult as well as testing later, who is very competent, warm not dogmatic and not age biased. Thanks

I've been a frequent patient of Dr. Goldman's. I find her extremeley competant and soothing in the sense that she's confident in her recommendations. She generally eases my fears by giving concrete, medical explanations for my symptoms. She also listens to my opinions and needs and has taken then into consideration when making recommendations about early induction, etc. (She's also a mother of four, so she's pretty darn familiar with pregnancy and childbirth.) I would certainly trust her with any aspect of a high-risk pregnancy. The only con, depending on your personality: She's not ''warm,'' per se. She's very businesslike in an efficient, professional New Yorker-type way, although plenty pleasant. Hope this helps!

I saw Dr. Janet Goldman a few times towards the end of my pregnancy. She is incredibly bright, articulate, and caring. As a doctor, I felt good being in her hands. However, the office is a VERY busy office and there is always, always, always a long wait with tons of people. The other downside is that Dr. Goldman only works aprt time so it is sifficult to get in to see her.

I can recommend Dr. Goldman from personal experience. I would not say she is the warmest practitioner, but in my experience she was the most competent among the several perinatologists I saw when I had the need. She was not a cold fish, and did not in any way turn me off, but she just wasn't the warm and fuzzy type. This was quite a number of years ago, and she has since become a parent herself, which may have warmed her a bit. But truly, she knows her stuff and I would not hesitate to steer my best friend her way. Louise

April 2002

Has anyone had a CVS with Dr Weiss at East Bay Perinatal? I understand that the experience level of the doctor is really important with this test. They told me he is very experienced but didn't give me any specifics to go on. Thanks

I had my CVS in the fall of 1999. My midwife (Hsiu-Li Cheng of East Bay um, Obstetrics? down the hall from EB Perinatal) sent me to Dr. Weiss for the CVS. After I made the appointment, I asked what his miscarriage rate was. It was slightly higher than the average rates I'd found online. I also asked how often he did CVS procedures and when he was trained. He had been trained 8 years earlier and did 1-2 per month. I was not comfortable with that. Fortunately, my insurance (HealthNet through Hill Physicians medical group) covered going to UCSF to have the procedure done. Dr. Musci, who did my procedure, had been trained 3 years previously, and was doing SEVEN CVS procedures *that* *day*. I was much more comfortable with that. He was very gentle and it was relatively quick and painless. My son is perfect. :) Jennie

I had an amnio with Dr. Weiss and I found him to be personable and professional. It took only a few minutes and really was no big deal.even though the needle is real large. He has a good reputation. I also understand that Perinatologists are hard to come by. I do not know why. Leslie

I had a CVS last year. I was referred to Dr. Weiss at EBPerinatal and went to genetic counseling and a meeting with Dr. Weiss. I was surprised to learn that EB Perinatal only did approximately 30 of these procedures a year (at least that's what the counselor told us when we asked--it may have changed since then). We expected (hoped) to hear it was much more routine. After some research, we learned that the top Dr. in the Bay area for CVS ( and seemingly the top place too) was Dr. Mary Norton UCSF. Supposedly, Dr. Norton learned from the Dr who brought CVS to teh Bay area. At UCSF, they did approximately 30 a week (again this was over a year ago). We also learned that they had a .5 % of problems (this includes miscarriage) compared to a higher than 1% rate at EBPerinatal. Even though, this was our second baby, I had miscarried prior to the birth of my first baby--so we were incredible concerned about not causing a problem by getting a CVS. I expressed this to Dr. Weiss, who I'm sure is perfectly competent, but he wasn't all that sensitive, and suggested that a CVS would be no more uncomfortable than a Pap smear (it always ruffles my feathers to hear this from a man anyway--since I've had some doozies in terms of Pap smears!) Anyway, the bottom line is that we went to UCSF, (see UCSF recommendations for the rest of this review.)

Oct 2001

I recently had an amnio performed by Dr. Goldman at Alta Bates Perinatal Center. Although I have no specific information about her level of experience, she struck me as being extremely competent -- the procedure was over very quickly and was not painful in the least. (Easier than a blood draw.) For me, the worst part was the anticipation. I came in feeling very nervous, but Dr. Goldman did an excellent job of distracting me while she got the job done. I was worried because the baby was moving around so actively (I kept envisioning him squirming towards the needle), but she showed me how much space there really was to work with, and that helped calm me down.

Also, the genetic counseling session beforehand was quite reassuring -- there are some misleading stats out there about amnio & miscarriage, and it was good to get a little more perspective on those numbers. Sara

I had an amniocentesis under the care of Dr. Goldman. My understanding is that the rate of complications at the Alta Bates Perinatal Center is quite low -- much lower than the 1% - 5% you often see in literature about the procedure in general. Also, I spent a lot of time at Alta Bates Perinatal in general (I had gestational diabetes) and really liked all the people I dealt with there. It is quite busy, but I rarely had long waits, and found most everyone there really competent and cheerful. Karen

I had Dr. Eric Spitzberg and he was very friendly, engaging and sincerely kind. I remember he came into the room making jokes that made me laugh which broke the tension. I don't remember his complication rate anymore, but I did do the research and I remember his was much-much lower than the national average. I seem to recall that Alta Bates Imaging had a very low rate overall. Most of the docs there have done a couple a thousand Amnios. I was really glad that I had the amnio. It enabled me to completely relax and enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy. Good luck to you. Mariannef

Aug 2001

regarding recurrent miscarriages:
I'd like to recommend Dr. Mickie Adams (I think her first name is Michelle but she goes by Mickie) She is with the Alta Bates Perinatal Group. (I don't know if that is the actual name of the practice but you should be able to find her through Alta Bates. If you can't locate her please email me back.) She only does OB (not GYN - so for ongoing postpartum GYN care you will need another doctor.) She is very compassionate, knowledgeable and willing to take as much time as you need to answer questions. I also have a history of miscarriages (4) and am considered high risk for this reason. Her practice is for high risk pregnancies. My miscarriages were caused by antibodies in my system which killed the fetus. This condition was treated by simply taking a baby aspirin every day throughout my pregnancy up until about 36 weeks of gestation. My antibody condition was detected through blood testing. Good Luck. If you can't find Dr. Adams # or you need anymore info.

Alta Bates Perinatal:
5730 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609-1710
Phone: (510)204-1507

The perinatology group (called East Bay Perinatology, I think) is outstanding -- they really listen and really care, and are extremely knowledgeable about what they do. They are located at 57th and Telegraph. Louisa