UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians ObGyn

Berkeley, Walnut Creek
  • 3000 Colby St, Suite 301, Berkeley CA 94705 (510) 705-8624
  • 2970 Camino Diablo Suite 200, Walnut Creek 94597 (925) 979-9360

MDs in this practice: Debra Levinsky, MD FACOG, Melissa Owens, MD FACOG, Rosie Monardo, MD FACOG, Jessica Johns MD

We are affiliated with UCSF and are delivering our patients at Alta Bates.

Parent Reviews

Parents, Sign in to post a review on this page.

I had an ovarian cyst removed last week by Dr. Lager @ UCSF mission bay. She’s thoughtful, kind, skilled, and put me at ease about going under. Highly recommend. Happy to chat more if helpful 

I’m seeing Dr Rose Monardo through John Muir and really like her so far. She has offices in Orinda and maybe also Walnut Creek. 

I found Rose Monardo to be a great partner.  I was 46 and developed pre-eclampsia and had a C-section. I delivered at Alta Bates and the nursing staff was amazing.

I delivered with Lilia Lizano a few months ago, and I've had a very good experience with her both getting pregnant and delivering. She is probably in the last few years of her practice, and is therefore very experienced. We had a minor scare during my delivery that resulted in us needing a C-section, and she helped me confidently move through that decision and get my daughter out within 30 minutes. I also saw Debra Levinsky a while back, for what was ultimately unfortunately a miscarriage, so she did my D&C, and although she can seem a little gruff at times I can tell you she has excellent bedside manner when it counts. I use Berkeley Peds (Dr. Sam Woods) for my daughter, and all of the doctors there are great and rotate through Alta Bates for management after your baby is delivered. I loved alta bates, like another person said, the building is older but we got a private room and my husband got a real (albeit a little stiff) bed to sleep in during my 4 day stay after delivery. The non-breakfast food is pretty bad, but no place is perfect! The nurses there are just unreal in how great they are with the new moms, and they have a full staff of lactation specialists, so I got to meet with a lactation specialist every day I was in the hospital (so 4 visits!).

Berkeley pediatrics are AMAZING. For OB, I had a wonderful experience with Debra Levinsky, but she's not for everyone (very direct, not so touchy-feely). Whoever you get, make sure you deliver at Alta Bates. I too came to the Bay Area in my 7th month and at first the facilities seemed really outdated, but in truth it's a boon (private room, often a real bed for your partner too!) and the nurses are just beyond wonderful. They deliver dramatically more babies than UCSF and the other hospitals in the area and it shows in the quality of care.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2011

Re: East Bay Obstetricians
Debra Levinsky has years of experience, but her bedside manner was not agreeable to me, the way she talks to nurses and other hospital staff leaves a lot to be desired, and most of all will do things without telling you first.

Jan 2010

Re: Need Orinda Lafayette OB GYN
Debra Levinsky is in Lafayette on Moraga Road. I've been with her for almost 20 years and she cared for me during my pregnancy, amongst many other things. I've always found her very easy to talk to, very caring, knowledgeable and responsive. I highly recommend her. (925) 283-5800 Rosie

Jan 2010

Re: OB for twins with small call group?
My ob/gyn, Debra Levinsky has a small call group for around here - 6 doctors. When I was pregnant she was on-call two weekdays every week and then they rotated the weekends. I don't know about her twin experience but overall she is very experienced. The doctors I know she shares call with are Streitfeld, Nishimine, and Lizano. Good luck!

June 2009

Re: OB Gyn for cervical dysplasia
Try Deborah Levinsky. She has offices in Berkeley and Lafayette. I had an abnormal pap smear about 8 years ago and she was my doc. It was adenocarcinoma and the end result was a vaginal partial hysterectomy. She can be brusque and is no-nonsense but gets the job done. Patient

August 2008

Re: OB for Laporoscopic Hysterectomy
Try Dr. Deborah Levinsky. I know she has much experience with laprascopic oophorectomies (sp?). You can see her reviews in the archives. I like her direct yet caring style. Very practical. Her main office is in Walnut Creek. She is also in Berkeley once a week. She does her procedures at Alta Bates. And by the way, her office staff Becky and Irma are great. anon

Jan 2008

Re: Berkeley Oakland Walnut Creek OB GYN
Dr. Levinsky (Walnut Creek and Berkeley on Monday afternoons) seems like a good doc. to me. She took a good amount of time to sit down and work through options with my partner and me recently. It was about a one month wait to get an initial appointment, but her staff have generally been fine to work with and I do like her style. Perhaps to avoid wait times with most doctors, schedlue early-in-the-day appointments (of course, this does not work in a n office where a doc. show up late for work!) I did wait about 20 minutes for my appointment, but that may have been because i was doing initial paperwork. All in all, her practice seems quite workable to me. I have also heard that women like Huibinhua, too. Anon.

June 2007

Re: Looking for a great East Bay OB GYN
I love Dr. Debra Levinsky. She has offices in Lafayette and Berkeley. I am currently seeing her for my second pregnancy and she saw me through my first as well. In fact, she was the one to deliver my daughter, and I don't know that any of my friends actually had their docs do the deliveries for their babes. She has been around the block a few times, so I am always confident in what she has to say. My first pregnancy was troubled and she was fabulous at giving me the facts in a realistic and compassionate way. And hs eis private practice, so you see her each time, not whichever doc is available. It is nice when the person delivering your child knows who you are and knows your name. preggo mamma

Jan 2007

Dr. Levinsky is my doctor (I'm in my 3rd trimester), but I have been thinking about switching, but would like to talk to some people who recently delivered with her (say in the last two years). Do you have any recent experience with her as your OB? What were your impressions about her during labor and delivery; did you have a good experience? Would you be willing to talk to me about your experience by phone? Thanks. Anon

I delivered my second child with Dr Levinsky in December. I was really impressed with her care. I started seeing Dr. Levinsky in the middle of this pregnancy because I moved here from the East Coast. My daughter was born two years ago so I can compare the two different practices for you if you're interested. Email me if you'd like more info. Kelly

Dr. Levinsky is my OBGYN as well and I have been pleased with her. I delivered with her in late 2004, so a bit beyond the 2 year mark you are looking for, but would be happy to talk with you. You didn't include a number and I don't feel comfortable posting mine here, but you may email to give me your number. Nicola nicola

Dr. Levinsky has been my OB through 2 pregnancies, and delivered my most recent child in September 2005 (I got her on-call partner for the first child). She was fine, but whether or not you like her depends on your personal style. What everyone says about her is true -- she's very direct and practical (I think it's an East Coast thing). If you don't need a lot of hand- holding and just want facts, she's great. (And I found she was a lot warmer during delivery and post-partum hospital visits than she was at checkups.) If you need things a little more warm and fuzzy, you might want to switch, but medically I think she's sound, and I didn't have any issues with the way she handled things. She does have a reputation for wanting to keep things moving along, and we did pre-schedule an induction for near my due date just in case, although I ended up not needing it and I didn't feel pressured to do it. One thing to consider is, in my case at least, she really was only there for the very end -- it was the L nurse (who was a superstar, btw) who was recommending labor positions, monitoring, answering questions, etc. It hardly mattered who the doctor was. If you have questions or directions about how you want to handle specific things, talk to her about it and see if you like her answers -- part of being direct is that she doesn't seem to mind if you're direct, too. You can email me if you'd like to talk further. jp

Dr. Levinsky delivered both of my children ages 3.5 and 8 months. I found her to be quick and to the point, a very east coast attitude. I too wondered if I had the right doctor with my first pregnancy until I ran into some very serious complications. The way she attacked my situation with her no nonsense, direct approach, saved my and my baby's life. She is not a chatty doctor, but someone who has 20 or so years of experiance, and really took all the extra steps when they were necessary. BTW, with the second pregnancy, her to the point appointments were a blessing with my toddler running around. Cristi

Oct 2006

OB Dr. Debra Levinsky: Has she been your doctor in the last two years? What are your thoughts about her during the pre-natal stage and during delivery? Thanks, Andrea

Dr. Levinsky delivered my baby this year. I had no complaints about the prenatal care until the very end (except that I chose her thinking that she was a Berkeley OB, and her hours in Berkeley are VERY limited--no Berkeley hours at all on weeks with Federal holidays).

I went past my due date, and she wanted to schedule an induction using my last menstrual period instead of the date I'd be telling her for the whole pregnancy that I'd ovulated, a week later (which had been confirmed by ultrasound). I felt like ''If you didn't believe me when I told you my ovulation date, why do you take my word about my last mentrual period date?''. But I've heard people make the same complaint about many other OBs.

Then I went for the Amniotic Fluid Index test, and had to be induced because my fluid was dangerously low. I was horrified to hear later that that test is sensitive to how much water you drink before it--I would have drunk a lot of water beforehand if I'd known, and it seemed like something the doctor should have told me. Again--I've heard this complaint about many other OBs also, and it sounds like I was in the minority in being overdue but not uncomfortable, not wanting a reason to be induced, etc.

As far as I know, she did a good job with the actual delivery and sewing me up afterwards (I tore). However, as she left the delivery room, she said ''I'll see you tomorrow,'' and then she didn't come the next day. Or the next. I assumed that I was supposed to leave the hospital after a 2 day stay, so after 2 days I asked my nurse what had to happen for me to go home, and found out that they were waiting for Dr. Levinsky to discharge me. The nurses seemed startled when I said I hadn't seen her since delivery. They paged one of the doctors who shares call with her, and he came over to the hospital to discharge me. He looked over my medical records, and said she'd recorded that the delivery had involved forceps--and it hadn't intending to choose another OB next time

Hi there, Dr Levinsky was covering for my OB and ended up performing my C section after a 2 day long induction. While her lack of a warm bedside manner is not what I had hoped for as part of my childbirth and postpartum experience, she made the right decision in quickly delivering my twins via C section before complications turned dire, and I felt I was in competent hands Anonymous

Dr. Levinsky has been my OB/GYN for 12 years now. She has seen both of my children (youngest is 5) into the world. I personally like her a lot and wouldn't think of changing. But I can guess she is not everyone's cup of tea. She is straight forward, very direct and doesn't beat around the bush. I am the same way, ask many questions and have my own mind about what I want to do or see happen. We get along great and I always get the information I need to make a good decision with her. If you are a more timid patient that requires more gentle nurturing, then she may not be the best fit. Although I at no time have ever felt that she had anything but the health of me and my baby as her first priority. Best of luck! Keley

April 2003

Re: Doctor for Endometriosis
I was in excruciating pain until my first endo surgery...it went away for awhile and then came back. Dr. Debra Levinsky did my second endometriosis surgery after I tried and failed for a year to get pregnant. After surgery #2 the pain also went away and I was able to get pregnant right away. Although I felt that sometimes Debra was a bit brusque, I ended up really liking her and I think she did a great job with my surgery. She did not waste time trying other treatments, and also, she didn't force me to try any hormone treatments I didn't want. My first surgeon wanted to send me into a false menopause right away (I was only 28) and told me it was a waste of time to do the surgery because I wasn't planning on getting pregnant (as if the pain were not enough to justify the procedure). So, all in all, my experience with Levinsky was much more positive. Also, I think that if you think you have endo, you probably do. When I would describe my symptoms to my friends with ''normal'' cycles, they were shocked. I eventually diagnosed myself and was right about what I had. I only wish I had had it treated 12 years earlier...perhaps I could have avoided a lot of pain and infertility.

June 2003

re: dr. debra levinsky I have been going to debra levinsky for over 20 years now. I changed my health care plan so that I could continue going to her when the boundaries of the plan changed. I have had three surgeries with her in attendance, and she delivered my daughter as well. I don't need someone to ''give me warm fuzzies'' and prefer to be spoken to as a participating member of the medical experience. I have found her care to be excellent, and I have complete faith in her medical abilities as well as her ability to communicate what is going on and what possibly could be the side effect/problems encountered. I only hope that she continues practicing forever, as I cannot imagine having to find a replacement who would ever measure up. Susan

August 2002

Has anyone of you recently experienced prenatal care and baby delivery with Dr Levinsky (office in Lafayette and Berkeley and delivery at Alta Bates). What is your experience ? I have seen a few shared experience on the UCB Newsletter about her but would like to hear people taht had experience with her in the recent past (less than 2 years). Thanks, Anne

I saw Dr. Levinsky a couple of years ago during my second pregnancy. She's pretty short and to the point, some may view that as being a bit abrupt. I like her immensly, though, as I enjoy her sense of humor. She was somewhat conservative with me, wanting me to quit work early.

She definitely sprang to action when I had a an ultrasound with results that didn't make sense. She met us at Alta Bates at 8:00am for another ultrasound (thought that the baby may have been small for dates) and not only was it her day off, she postponed her breakfast date.

Since this was my second baby, I didn't have the need for a lot of handholding which she didn't really provide. But I felt I got excellent care. Her nurse practitioner, Kim, is lovely. She's warm and reassuring. Hope this helps. Mollie

I gave birth to a son on November 14, 2001 and Dr. Levinsky was my OB/GYN. I found the prenatal care to be wonderful. I would come prepared with questions (when I had them) to my appointments and she (or her PA Kim Bayliss) would spend as much time as I needed to answer them. She may seem a little brusque, but I feel that is due to her being a New Yorker (I can say that because I'm one too!); I found her to be very pleasant as well as Kim. My appointments were prompt, so I didn't have to wait long in the lobby or exam room, except for one time when Dr. Levinsky got caught at the hospital delivering a baby (imagine that!). I would recommend her. Unfortunately, I cannot give any comments in regard to her bedside manner at my delivery as she had hip surgery several weeks before my due date, so she couldn't be at the hospital when my son was born. I was disappointed with that, but she had to have the surgery then or else risk being crippled. Once I got used to it, I was okay with the situation, and I had a wonderful experience at Alta Bates and with the doc on call when I gave birth. Debra

Dr. Levinsky delivered both my daughters - ages 2.5 years and 8 months. I recommend her highly! What she may lack in bedside manner she more than makes up with knowledge and experience. She doesn't take things too seriously and really helps put things into perspective. She is a fantastic choice! Lori

I am a current patient of Dr. Levinsky's and am very happy with her (and am due with my first child in a month). I too read the comments on the recommendations page and have a couple of reactions. One is that I noticed that OB/GYN's who are described as giving you as much attention as you need also tend to be described as having longer waits in their office whereas OB/GYN's who are described as having a somewhat abrupt style in the exam room are described as also almost always on time. I think the combinations are obvious and it depends on what you want. Dr. Levinsky fits more in the second group (I've never had to wait long in her office)but I don't tend to think of her as abrupt, just efficient. I bring a list of questions and she always answers them all. If you are looking for a doctor to ask all the right questions to draw out your fears, it probably isn't her (and maybe not any of them at this point, given how busy they are) but if you come in prepared to ask questions she is great. It may or may not make a difference, but I've heard she's from th East coast and so am I, so it could also be that I am familiar with and comfortable with a more abrupt style and a sarcastic sense of humor. I can't really answer how she handles actual births because I haven't had mine yet, but I'm pleased with her and aside from any bedside manner issues I think she is a GREAT physician. A friend of a friend is a patient of hers and had a very complicated birth and apparently thought she was terrific in the way she handled it. a pleased patient

Dr. Levinsky cared for me during both my pregnancies and delivered one of my children and I feel she is very competant and experienced and inspires confidence. She is pretty non- interventionalist- both my deliveries were induced for post- dates and she insisted we wait at least 10 days, but monitored every other day in the meantime. She sees you herself for almost all prenatal visits, makes every attempt to attend her own deliveries and take her own evening call as well, and shares emergency coverage with Dr. Niishimi. He delivered my first child after I had to be induced emergently for fetal distress, but she was in contact by phone, too. Neither, however, is not the touchy-feely type. She doesn't make you feel she has all the time in the world to discuss fatigue, morning sickness and hemorrhoids, etc., but my offhand comment about less fetal activity was quickly picked up on and action was taken. Dr. Niishimi paced back and forth in my labor room for 2 hours, closely monitoring the situation, but said 2 sentences to me the whole time. He did exactly the right thing medically in a touchy situation- safely delivered and no C section- so his bedside manner matters little.

Regarding Dr. Levinsky: She was my ob for my prenatal care for my 1 year old son (unfortunately, she wasn't available when I delivered so I got someone else). I would highly recommend her.

Here's why:

Mostly, I think she's medically very knowledgable, and she is very calm and not prone to hysteria. She runs her office on a tight ship, which I like, because I never waited for an late appointment -- but at the same time she sould sit down and answer all my questions when I had them.

I will say this: Late in my pregnancy, I heard a rumor she had a high c-section rate. When in labor, I asked the nurse about this and she said that actually she has a low c-section rate and that she was known to be medically extremely competent. She's a true new yorker and not prone to be overly gushy (though she did gush a lot over the baby when she met him!). Sabrina

I've used Debra Levinsky for a couple of years and highly recommend her. I had my two boys with Margaret Cuthbert -who was the BEST OB ever- and Levinsky shared after-hour duties with Cuthbert, inheriting most of her patients (and excellent front desk staff) after Cuthbert retired (at 44 to write mystery novels!!). Levinsky actually delivered both of my children. Now that Levinsky is my OB/GYN she's taken me through routine exams AND major reproductive surgery. While I can't speak to her prenatal care (other than her excellent delivery skills!) I can say that as a surgery patient with choices to make she was very supportive and gave me the information and time I needed to make a decision. - I always felt cared for, valued, and treated as a mature ADULT able to make my own decisions. I would imagine she has the same consideration and support in her prenatal care. In terms of office waits, I've never waited in her office more than 5-10 minutes. Levinsky has offices in Berkeley (right across from Alta Bates) and Lafayette. Her main phone # is 925-283-5800. Karen

From: Naomi

I have been going to Debra Levinsky (Berkeley/Lafayette) with my second pregnancy and so far have been satisfied with the care- she is a solo practitioner and tends to deliver most of the babies as well. She is a little more interventionist than Dr. Royce was (for example, she basically expects an 18 week ultrasound, which Dr. Royce had left entirely up to me), but not to a problematic level. I'm not due until January 30th, so I'll probably have more information in a few months, but so far I would recommend her as an obstetrician, especially as compared to some of the others I visited during my first pregnancy!

Re: GYN surgery

My Mom had surgery with Dr Levinsky and I saw her during my pregnancy but she didn;t deliver me. My Mom had her bladder repaired. After three babies, she could not control bladder function well. Dr. Levinsky was great and is looking into many other options as the surgery did not totally fix the problem (although it is much improved). My Mom stays with her and is happy.