John Muir Medical Center Labor & Delivery

Walnut Creek

Parent Q&A

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  • Due to the failed negotiation between Cigna and Dignity Health, I now have to look for a new hospital as my twins will not be covered (even though I will be). Debating between Alta Bates in Berkeley and John Muir in Walnut Creek. Looking for some recommendations and recent experience. Especially those who twins that have delivered at either/both. Thank you! 

    I had a singleton at Alta Bates in October and had a great experience. I was working with their midwives for my care but it ended up being a long and complicated delivery, including vacuum and emergency c-section, so I worked with the OBs on staff as well. The care was excellent. With a longer hospital stay than anticipated, the nurses were fantastic and full of helpful tips and advice for first-time parents. Considering how challenging the birth was, I couldn’t have been happier with my experience. 

    I gave birth at Alta bates in November (not twins though!). I had a long labor so went through 4 shifts of L&D nurses and I can say they were all great. I was really impressed. I eventually opted for an epidural and the anesthesiologist did a great job too. The post labor facilities weren’t super nice and I found the nursing and other support to be more variable there. We didn’t have any complications so I have no experience with the NICU or surgery aspects. 

    I don't have twins, but I did deliver my first at Alta Bates (in 2012) and my 2nd at John Muir (2019).  I had positive experiences with both hospitals and staff.  The facilities in both are also wonderful with John Muir having more updated facilities and more options for family members (like bigger waiting areas, better cafeteria & Heather Farms is close by if you want to bring little ones there to pass the time).  Both hospital staff respected my birth plans & that I wanted to save the placenta to make placenta pills, they were both very supportive and attentive while I was there & it was important for both hospitals that the mother and baby bonded right away and breastfeeding was established. 

    One difference was (and I don't know if this is a hospital or insurance thing) I did have a follow up home visit with an Alta Bates nurse after I gave birth and I don't remember scheduling the visit when I was at the hospital.  I think it was part of the "package".  It was actually really nice that the nurse came to my home to check up on me and I didn't have to plan a trip out of the house.  I don't know if JM offers that service, but I definitely recommend you have that home visit!

    I highly recommend you take the hospital tour before deciding.  Also consider the distance of the hospitals to your home.  Alta Bates was a 10-min drive from my home when I lived in Oakland and JM was a 15-min drive from my current home.  When you're in labor, you want to get to the hospital as quickly as possible!

    Good luck and congrats!

    I don’t have twins, but the labor and delivery experience at Alta Bates was fantastic. The postpartum treatment was inconsistent at best, but during my labor I felt extremely supported and encouraged. I would definitely return.

    I delivered at Alta Bates 18 months ago. It was great. Barring one bad baby class teacher who was militant about her methods, the people were friendly, the experience positive, the facilities clean and most important - the nurses were stellar. We had a fantastic nurse who was just wonderful with my daughter. 

    We ended up in the one large room post delivery which was also great. Shower was a little old, but at that point I could care less. 

    The triage nurses were also wonderful when I needed to stay past the 30 minute window for a whole host of reasons. 

    definitely would say you’d be taken care of here. I’m sad Alta Bates will be no longer soon...

  • Experience at John Muir labor & delivery?

    (3 replies)

    Hi All,

    I’m pregnant and moving cross country to the East Bay. Would love to hear any experiences or thoughts about delivering at John Muir. The only info I can find on BPN is from the early 2000s.


    My wife delivered at John Muir after our pediatrician group moved from UCSF in Berkeley to John Muir in Walnut Creek in the middle of her pregnancy. The delivery room she delivered out daughter in was literally like a hotel suite. The hospital was also pretty new, modern and clean. A stark contrast to hospital she would have delivered in had her pediatric group stayed in Berkeley. 

    The nurses were great, and the Dr. that delivered was fantastic. His name is Dr. Friedman. I would definitely recommend John Muir. We also took the childbirth preparation and CPR classes at John Muir which I would also recommend. Best of luck with your pregnancy and move!

    I had both of my kids there. Its a great facility, the staff overall is excellent, esp the nurses who were very nice and attentive! The food is only so and so in my opinion.

    I had both my kids at John Muir in Walnut Creek in the past 5 years. I loved it. Big beautiful private rooms, the best nurses ever, I cannot complain about any of it. I didn't want to go back home and leave the wonderful nurses! The turn over is really low there. I was talking to one of my labor nurses there last time and she said the "wait list" is so long to work there and once you get in you find a way to never leave. 

    Also, look in to Muir Mommies for after the baby is born for a great "moms group" with great lactation consultants and education. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Giving birth at John Muir vs San Ramon Regional

Nov 2006

Has anyone given birth at John Muir and/or San Ramon Regional? What are the pros & cons of each? I'm especially curious about San Ramon Regional since I haven't heard much about them. Also, who was your OB? Anonymous

I had a very positive experience delivering at JMMC. They have a very high level NICU in case your baby arrives early and needs to be in the ICU. Their lactation consultants are very knowledgeable and supportive as well. A happy delivery at JMMC

Childbirth at John Muir

May 2005

Hi, I've read the archives regarding birthing experiences at Alta Bates/Summit but didn't find any for John Muir. I'd love to hear about recent experiences there as well as the associated OB/GYN that delivered your baby if it's a recommedation response. I'm just getting familiar with the east bay medical practices and would love your input. Oh BTW, I have Blue Cross PPO if that makes a difference. Thanks so much! Jina :)

I had a baby at John Muir exactly one year ago after delivering two at Alta Bates. I can honestly say that the experience was pretty much the same. Very competent, warm friendly nurses and staff. I must say that I am not a patient who is very picky about medical staff and don't consider myself someone who has to connect with caregivers. As long as I get competent care, I am fine. With both deliveries at Alta Bates, I had a semi- private room and had a roommate both times. At John Muir, they only have private rooms, BUT they are TINY. There was barely room for the bed and the baby bassinet. I had to really maneuver to get to the bathroom door since it opened out. Other than this, John Muir is a great place to deliver. ARA

I had my first child at CPMC in the city and my second and third children at John Muir. Even though I thought CPMC had to be one of the part because of the silly reason that I was also born there, I was much happier with my experience at John Muir. At John Muir,I had much more personalized, individual attention from the nurses during labor and after the babies were born. My husband and I were pretty much left to fend for ourselves during labor at CPMC. At John Muir, I never felt pushed into getting pain meds from the nurses--although I did end up getting epidurals and the anestesiologists (sp?) showed up immediately. My 2nd child needed to stay in the hospital at John Muir for a few extra days and my ob arranged for me to stay as well. I also felt supported by the lactation consultants there. A really positive experience all around. My OB is Janine Senior in Walnut Creek--highly recommend her as well. Happy Birth Experiences

I've said it before, but I'll say it again . . . it isn't the hospital that matters so much in your birth experience, it is the person you choose (midwife, ob/gyn) to care for you during the pregnancy and birth. You must be sure that you feel aligned with the person who will be caring for you! There's too much to say about that here, but you need to really think about what kind of care you want (and don't want!) and find someone who truly will offer that (rather than just say they will and then scare you into agreeing to interventions during the birth).

That said, I am a nurse at John Muir in the birth center, and I can tell you that the great majority of ob/gyns (there are no midwives) who practice there are highly interventionist: routine episiotomies (despite recent research that does not support the use of episiotimies), rampant inductions for mere convenience, an epidural rate around 99%, artificial rupture of membranes (breaking the bag of waters), and one of the highest c- section rates in the Bay area [they say it hovers around 30%, but I believe it to be higher]. The hospital is clean, the staff fairly happy, there is a Level III intensive care nursery, so those are pluses. Also, the postpartum rooms are private (vs. shared at Alta Bates, for example), but they are quite small. I think the postpartum nursing staff is good -- lots of lactation support. There isn't much support for natural birth on the labor and delivery side, though. I personally would not want to deliver there because I wouldn't go to any of the ob/gyns who deliever there because I wouldn't want so many unnecessary interventions. Anon

June 2003

We recently moved ''over the hill'' and for that and other insurance reasons - though I tried mightily to avoid it - I've had to change medical groups. I'm now affiliated with John Muir Medical Group. I need to get a new Primary Care Physician, and a new OB. The PCP doesn't worry me too much \\255 I almost never go, and have one name that should be fine. The OB part is giving me an ulcer though. I LOVED my OB in Berkeley, and I'm nervous that I won't find someone as good, caring, takes the time, etc. We're planning to have another child, so it feels pretty important to not do this randomly. Does anyone have any recommendations, or cautionary tales? I'd prefer a woman. On a related note, has anyone delivered at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek? How is it? Thank you! Heather

I didn't discover Dr.Fillmore until after my daughter was born, but wish I had. Very friendly, direct doctor. I delivered in John Muir & due to their equipment malfunction, I wasn't allowed to move around, which led to pitocin, then an early epidural & almost an unnecessary c-section. My feeling is that they have a tendancy to escalate things too quickly, so be prepared to argue for what you want. Having said that, the nurses are great & it probably would have been better with a different doctor, such as Dr. Fillmore anon

I love John Muir Medical Center. I delivered my first at Alta Bates and my second at John Muir. I loved the hospital and received excellent care at both facilities. I had no complaints and was impressed both times. As for the doctors, I've never had experience with those on the list, nor have I heard of friends' either. If you have the opportunity to visit Dr. Robert Cole (he's also affiliated with John Muir), I'd go there. He is a wonderful doctor who I cannot recommend highly enough. He has a great bedside manner, and he is wonderful at his job. I've recommended him to several friends who've had similar experiences with him. Sorry to report that I don't know the doctors on your list. I hope my experiences help. kristin

I delivered at John Muir 16months ago & had a great experience. Doctors: There are a few who are always recommended- I see Stephen Wells (who has a cult following I think, mainly for his mellow, laid back attitude.)He seems super competent to me, and his staff is terrific. When I had my daughter the office was always very busy- we routinely had long waits for appointments, and three times we waited forty- five minutes. He has also joined a larger on-call group since I delivered, which means your chances of being delivered by someone you've never met are high. He says his style is compatible with the 6 other doctors'- but I was much happier when he shared call with only two. Another doctor that gets raves is Ryan Anderson. erika