ObGyn for High-risk Pregnancy
I would try to go to Alta Bates or UCSF.
I have had two high risk pregnancies. (One GD and one diabetes). The second time, I was happy with the care I received from the Sutter East Bay OBGYN group (with privileges at Alta Bates). I see a regular OBGYN, and also a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, and I feel the MFM is much better than my previous MFMs. And my previous experience at Alta Bates delivering was pretty good.
That said, unless you have a scheduled c-section, I think you’re going to get whomever is on-call as your doctor for delivery with any practice. There aren’t really any drs that run a small practice who go on call for each patient anymore, I don’t think. At Alta Bates, the on-call OBs seem to have an MFM they can consult with remotely.
Another response in support of UCSF. It's true that you won't necessarily see the same providers each visit, but the care and facilities are exceptional. I established care at four different Bay Area clinics throughout my pregnancy (due to moving and then later due to significant, high-risk complications... this includes the UBCP MFMs in Berkeley, which I do not recommend), and not once did I feel safe and supported until I was at UCSF. I'm planning to get pregnant again and will automatically be considered high risk, and I'm excited to be starting with them from the jump.
I know you said east bay but the best doc in the Bay Area for this is Dr. Laurie Green bar none. If you can get on her panel you’re in excellent hands. She’s in SF.
I had a high risk pregnancy at UCSF and had a great experience. The delivery nurses and doctors were amazing. I felt that my safety but also my dignity were their top priority and my wishes were respected to the extent possible. I think you will be in good hands even if it is a doctor who hasn’t seen you before.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! I also live in Oakland, was considered high-risk in pregnancy (autoimmune disease), and delivered my first child at UCSF last spring—I was really, really impressed with the care I received. At first, I was put off by the idea of being matched with any provider. I deciding to participate in the Centering Pregnancy program, which I highly recommend: I was placed in a small cohort of women with similar due dates, and we met as a group led by an OBGYN, midwife, and midwifery student. In these two hour sessions, we'd spend one hour on prenatal education, and one hour peeling off for individual check-ins with the providers while the rest of the group chatted. I really appreciated getting to know our two providers so well, and I found the insights and support of the group invaluable (we're still in touch!). I happened to get really lucky: my OB admitted me when I was in labor, and my midwife ultimately delivered my baby. That said, even if those two amazing women hadn't been part of the birth, I would still rave about their care and attention (both visited me in the weeks that followed when my baby needed time in the NICU).
As soon as I was established in the Centering program, my two providers immediately referred me to a high-risk OB who followed me throughout pregnancy and postpartum. While that doctor wasn't present at my birth (and we primarily met by Zoom), she was an invaluable advocate—when I needed to see specialists, she set up appointments for me in record time, she communicated frequently with my OB and midwife, she gave me a cell phone number to reach her anytime, and her notes and recommendations on my chart impacted my care when I delivered. Postpartum, when I was dealing with really rough breastfeeding challenges, she worked with the hospital's lactation consultants to refer me to a breastfeeding medicine doctor. It was clear to me that her reputation carried weight; she made things happen for me instantly and commanded a lot of respect in the UCSF community—I was super grateful to have her on my team.
Hope this helps! Feel free to contact me if you'd like specific names of providers.
Hi, I had a high risk pregnancy that was uneventful until labor. Then a lot of things went wrong: emergency C-section, NICU. (Baby got out within three days and is completely healthy now.) OBs at Sutter's Milvia practice were great throughout pregnancy, during the nightmarish delivery, and afterwards in follow-up. Yes, Alta Bates' rooms are older but they are also big and you get one to yourself, with a separate bed for your partner or loved one. All this to say, if you can get in with the Sutter OBs, Alta Bates might be worth considering
I have a blood clotting disorder (history of DVTs & PEs), was very high risk in both my deliveries, and delivered both times at UCSF. I would absolutely recommend them for your situation, if you can become comfortable with the unknown regarding who will ultimately be there for delivery. In the lead up to delivery, my UCSF hematologist, Dr. Andrew Leavitt - who is absolutely phenonemal (the best doctor I have ever interacted with - I'd probably try to continue to see him even if I moved out of state!) - worked closely with the main UCSF perinatologist I was seeing to determine a plan of action for the delivery (which included a planned induction to mangage care appropriately). I was part of the discussion all along the way, and felt like all of the UCSF staff I interacted with cared deeply that I was comfortable with the plan (and various contingencies), and were open to discussing the data and research behind their recommendations. When it came time for delivery the team at UCSF assigned nurses who were highly experienced in caring for high risk cases, and had specific experience in handling patients with blood clotting issues and the accompying medical needs (e.g. at one point I was connected up to three different IV poles). While the doctors did change over the course of my labor during shift changes, it was clear that everyone coming into my room was well-briefed on the specifics of my case and needs. And when my second delivery accererated faster than planned, the most experienced doctors (at least three of them!) were in my room in minutes to help manage the situation. All in all, I felt like I got world-class medical care at UCSF, and that they were very capable of handling my relatively challenging medical situation.
Glad to message further on it, if you'd like!
I went to UCSF for my high risk pregnancy. It's true, you don't have a dedicated OB. You are seen by a team of doctors and it basically changes every single time. While I suppose it is a bit impersonal, I didn't feel like I wasn't getting quality care. I find that they are very good at conveying information between providers and they are also very good about listening to patient concerns. If I have another high risk pregnancy, I will return to UCSF.
Sutter East Bay does have high risk OBs (they're in the Maternal & Fetal Medicine department). I believe I had one or two appointments with Janet M. Goldman (who has admitting privileges to Alta Bates), who seemed well-informed and nice, but I had to transfer to UCSF or Stanford to have access to a Level IV NICU after delivery.
If you do end up deciding between UCSF and Stanford, I think you should give UCSF some real consideration, just due to distance. Stanford does have offices here in the east bay, but in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you have to do all your appointments from Stanford hospital, so that would be a lot of commuting. Also, once you give birth, it might be a little easier to be closer to home during your hospital stay, because of your other child. I had a friend who saw an OB with Stanford and she ultimately gave birth at Alta Bates with a different OB because she was not able to get to Stanford in time to deliver.
I'm considered high risk and being seen at a newish clinic in Berkeley (right next to Alta Bates) called Millie. My midwife is Talia Borgo. I don't know what types of high risk pregnancies they feel comfortable supporting but they deliver at Alta Bates (though they're still getting all their midwives admission privileges, not everyone has them). I had Anthem PPO last year and I went to see them for a previous pregnancy.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I am looking for a female OB who specializes in high risk pregnancies and delivers at Alta Bates. I had my daughter in SF at CPMC in 2008, but now need to find someone who can deliver closer to home. I had numerous complications, low fluid, preterm labor, a small baby and was monitored by the amazing doctors at SF perinatal for the months leading up to my preterm delivery. I need someone who can do a great repeat C section if needed or help me with a VBAC and be able to refer me to the right specialists for my likely complications I will have in my next pregnancy. I would love to hear your experience as a high risk patient with your recommended OB! I looked in the archives and couldn't find much. Thanks! anon
I would head to Bill Isenberg at Ob Gyn Partners for Health. I had a very complicated second pregnancy, with isenberg as my main person and then two other docs for other issues. Wait, make that three when you throw in my endocrinologist. Care was exceptional. He was pushing for a vbac until my gestational diabetes could only be controlled by insulin, at which point the c-section was scheduled. That too was a great experience. Really cannot say enough good things about him, and his partners. Great care, great referrals, good book-keeping insurance and easy parking to boot. Good luck
I would highly recommend Kurt Wharton , M.D. He is a fantastic Ob/Gyn and he delivered my baby 6 months ago. He came highly recommended so I went with him despite all my years of seeing only female docs. He has an excellent bedside manner, warm, calming and is wonderful with C-sections if need be. He's been practicing for years and although I did not have high risk if I did you bet I'd go with him. Fully trust his capabilities and knowledge base- he knows what he's doing. His number is 925-962-0002. His office is in Lafayette but he delivers at Alta Bates. Trust me, he is worth the drive if that's of any concern. Rita
I wanted to second the recommendation for Dr. Kurt Wharton . He is an amazing OB. I have recommended many friends to him, all of whom have had great experiences that run the gamut from a VBAC to a high-risk c-section delivery. He is so knowledgable and warm, and so hardworking. My recovery from the c-section he performed for my first child was very easy; in fact it seemed easier than some of my friends' recoveries from their vaginal deliveries. The nurses checking up on me in the hospital said ''Oh you have Dr. Wharton, don't you?'' They recognized how skilled a surgeon he is. My scar healed so well you can barely see it at all. Kathleen
I cannot recommend Dr. Lilia Lizano highly enough! She is a very skilled surgeon. I have been a patient of hers for about seventeen years. I too delivered my first two daughters at CPMC in 1990 and 1992. My pregnancies were horrendous, I had pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and with my third daughter's pregnancy I had a cyst on my ovary the size of a cantaloupe. Dr. Lizano operated when I was sixteen weeks pregnant and was able to skillfully remove the cyst and ovary without me losing the baby (a high chance). She sat by my side herself and monitored the baby's heartbeat after the surgery to make sure the baby was OK. At delivery my daughter was born with the cord around her neck twice (truly a miracle baby). She has also performed a hysterectomy on me. I completely trust her judgement. She is in Hercules. Girls are now 20, 18 and 15yrs old
Does anyone have a recommendation for an excellent high-risk OB-GYN or perinatalogist in the Oakland/Berkeley area who is not affiliated with East Bay Perinatal? For our first child we had planned a homebirth, but due to low amniotic fluid and postdates I was admitted to Alta Bates to induce labor. I was attended by the on-call doctors at Alta Bates (the ones overseeing my labor were affiliated with East Bay Perinatal). Unfortunately, during labor I experienced complications (an abrupted placenta), and because signs of fetal distress were not acted upon quickly enough, severe oxygen deprivation resulted in the death of our baby six hours after she was born by emergency c-section. For any future pregnancies, we are looking for a high-risk OB or perinatalogist in the East Bay who is well regarded and who is in no way affiliated with East Bay Perinatal. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
Your story is simply heart breaking. I am so sorry. I know you said perinatologist, but I think you should go meet and discuss your situation with Dr Bill Isenberg at OB/gyn partners for Health in Oakland. He got me through what could easily have been your situation (due in part to an on-call doctor who is no longer practicing) by doing an emergency c-section. I reccomend him because he is very, very compassionate in addition to being an excellent doc. I had several losses previous to my previous pregnancy and every single time I worried, he fit me in for a sonogram. Every time. And trust me, that happened alot. All my perinatology has been done through Dr Goldberg in SF (minor complications of current pregnancy requiring ultrasound monitoring), not east bay perinatal. Dr Isenberg has a great relationship with Goldberg & the whole pratice at SF Perinata. And all the doctors at OB/gyn partners are great. He also is also open to VBAC, under the right circumstances. Good luck
Does anyone have any recommendations for a high-risk OB-GYN in the Berkeley Oakland area? I am having complications from my pregnancy and I am not sure that my regular OB has enough experience with these types of complications (blood not flowing properly, vein disorder). Thanks! Stephanie