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UM Fairview Vs. Abbott for Delivery of First Baby

I am newly pregnant and am interested in experiences people have had at both UM Fairview and Abbott for having their babies! I'm looking for a comfortable atmosphere and high quality healthcare in a convenient location. I'd love to hear any opinions on the OB/midwife you used as well. (I've read great reviews of Woodwinds, but unfortunately is too far from home and really far from work!) Thanks for your feedback.

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Have you thought about St. Josephs downtown St. Paul? I used midwives at Generations Womens Clinic and they were great, they deliver at St. Joe's and St. Johns. The midwives at Healtheast clinic in Mac Groveland also deliver at St. Joe's.


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Well I have four kids and all have been born at different hospitals. My oldest at Abbott. I did not like that hospital. The nurses, besides one, were terrible. Next one Burnsville Fairview. Very nice and clean. Nurses fine. Nothing really sticks out in my head. St. Joes in St. Paul. The best one ever! Great nurses and doctors. Very personalable and concerned. Showed you whatever you needed. St. Johns nice and quiet. Nurses were pretty good. So all in all I would say St. Joes in St. Paul. The reason I went to different hospitals was that my husbands work medical changed all the time so I always had to find a new doc and hospital.

John Eads also caught my DS in August 05 at UM Fairview. He was awesome. I walked in there with a 2 page birth plan, and he was like "Hey, it's your show! Let's do it the way you want it." I really recommend him. He has a great sense of humor and a great bedside manner.

I also, unfortunately, can attest to his skill with a needle and thread. I had some tearing but have healed up like nothing happened. Sorry if that's TMI...

I guess there are drawbacks to both places in that UM Fairview is a "teaching' hospital so you may have lots of comings and goings from "students" - I did. But I was 6 cm when I walked in the door, so I hardly cared. It might bother some though. And Abbott is a "high-risk" hospital, so if you're looking for a low-intervention birth that might be a bad fit. But you can have a good (or bad) experience anywhere, as they say. The pp mentioning St. Joes, yeah you should definitely consider that if it's an option. And as far as Woodwinds, well they sort of have a reputation for selling themselves as real progressives and not necessarily delivering as far as I've heard anyway. Like they have tubs, but I know several women who've been categorized as "high-risk" there when that was *really* debateable.

A lot to think about, isn't it? :)

Congrats on your pregnancy!

Have you thought about St. Josephs downtown St. Paul? I used midwives at Generations Womens Clinic and they were great, they deliver at St. Joe's and St. Johns. The midwives at Healtheast clinic in Mac Groveland also deliver at St. Joe's.


I delivered my first child at HCMC and my second at Abbott. Hands down we preferred HCMC for it's great staff, approach and atmosphere.

At Abbott the care during my C-section was great but the after care was lacking. My OB is a great surgeon so the delivery went very well and my son was fine even though he had to be delivered a month early. Most the rooms at Abbott are very small and the floors and bathroom felt a bit dirty. There was barely room for the doctor at the end of the bed. The post delivery nurses at Abbott weren't very attentive and didn't seem to check on me or the baby much. It always seemed like the nurses took forever to respond to a page even when a monitor alarm was going off in my room! This could have been since one of the nurses was a temporary nurse so she didn't seem that into the job or particularly skilled in OB nursing. Also the food service was awful - I don't expect the food to taste great but it was a couple hours late a couple times which is problematic when you haven't been allowed to eat for 24 hours.

Overall I'd give Abbott a B grade - our doctor was great and our son well delivered. I'm sure technically they offer great high quality care - it's just the atmosphere and 'tone' that drops them to a B.

The Birth Center at HCMC on the other hand was great. Most people in the Twin Cities don't realize that Hennepin County Medical Center was named one of the 10 best places in the US to have a baby. They have a special midwife wing that even has some rooms with full sized beds. The rooms are nice, with private baths, a bathing area for baby and a fold out bed for a partner. They also provide Doula services to coach you through the process - which is great if you are using an OB like we did. The Doula will coach you throughout the process and help make you comfortable. My daughter had a rough start with latching on while nursing. The nurse helped me but also sent a lactation consultant to help me try a number of positions and in no time my daughter was eating well. The nurses were really helpful and caring too. They've had nurse midwives delivering at the hospital since the 1970s so I think that has had a positive influence on their approach. Plus they are also used to dealing with patients from a number of other cultures that typically use midwives so they are very flexible. Also worth noting - they have a recently remodeled newborn intensive care unit. Hopefully that won't be something you need - but it's nice knowing that it's there.

I'd encourage you to take a tour of the hospitals you are considering. All of them offer tours so it's a nice way to compare. After a tour of Abbott I had a feeling they offered quality care but the atmosphere wasn't going to be as great as HCMC. Unfortunately our new OB didn't typically deliver at HCMC so it wasn't an option for us. Best wishes for a pleasant and healthy birth.

I delivered at UM Fairview in May 2006 with our first (and only)son. I thought it went really well and they followed my birth plan. I used the midwives at Fairview Riverside Women's Clinic. John Eads delivered. I hadn't met him up until that point. That was one drawback - I didn't know who would be on call the day I went into labor. He was exceptional though. In the future, I am considering a hypno-birth or water birth and I don't think I could/would do it at the same hospital. I know for sure they don't have birthing tubs. I did get to labor in the bathtub for hours (I had a LONG labor) and was never pressured to get out. The nurses came to me and listened to the baby's heart with a stethoscope rather than me having to get hooked up to a monitor.

I have heard good and bad things about Abbott. I think they have more C-sections there. It's difficult to obtain stats on stuff like that though. I tried when I was pregnant.

The thing about hospitals is that you are only there a couple days if there are no complications. I wouldn't worry about what the rooms look like or material things like that. Some people get excited about the birthing suites, etc. It is important to find good care. Your birth experience shapes the beginning of motherhood for you.

One final thought: most midwives (and mine included) will not give episiotomies. I think this is a good idea. It is generally accepted practice among OBs to cut the woman. A friend of mine gave birth the day after me and her OB cut her against her wishes. It's been over a year and sex is difficult for her. I did not have an epis., as it was part of my birth plan and the midwife's philosophy. People will argue that you tear and it is "difficult to stitch." Well I did tear, and John took a long time to stitch me up, but I healed beautifully. Tears are usually so much less severe than people make it out to be. They may be irregular, but they are more superficial than a cut with the scissors.

Good luck! This is such an exciting time.

I gave birth to all three of my children at Abbott, but my reason was that all three were high-risk pregnancies (health issues for me). My experiences actually varied quite a bit. The first time, I was in labor for 36 hours, but that was because I refused to have a c-section as long as both and I and the baby were doing fine. My L&D nurses were ok, but my recovery nurses were not great. They went to take out my IV and I asked them to double check that I didn't need another dose of antibiotic. They said it was fine and took it out. Well, sure enough, I needed more antibiotic. I was not happy. And I did feel pretty left on my own.

My next were much better. Now, I delivered in the cardiac unit, not on the 6th floor. Because of that, I had two nurses to myself, a huge room and lots of attention from the doctors. My nurses were all fabulous. Then I went to a different recovery than the regular one. The nurses there were pretty nice, too, although when I requested a lactation consultant (I had a horrible time with my first and ended up back at the hospital three days after we went home because the baby wouldn't stop screaming - turns out, he wasn't getting a good latch), the nurse tried to tell me that she'd nursed four babies and could help me. Never mind that she was totally flat-chested and I'm not at all, so it's a whole different ballgame. There also wasn't any hot water, although that wasn't anyone's fault.

My experiences probably won't help you, since they're pretty unique. I was always impressed with my doctors, but they were perinatal docs. Most of my nurses were great and were very helpful, but the recovery nurses were not quite as on top of it. If you're not high risk, I'd recommend Southdale, if you can. I had several friends have babies there and they loved it!

2 of my babies were born at FV Riverside. I had a great experience both times. My 1 experience at FV Southdale wasn't the best. I see Carrie Terrell's group at University Specialists for women, connected to the Riverside Hospital via skyway. How convenient! I refer everyone to her them. Not all of my deliveries have been without problems either. They helped me through a devasating miscarriage too. I think there are a couple of reviews on this site with others' opinions on OB's. I'd encourage you to check it out. Good luck in your search. It is such an important decision!

I had a wonderful experience at Fairview Riverside. I meet with a number of different midwives and they were all wonderful. Karen McMenimun delivered my daughter and was absolutly wonderful. I highly recommend this hospital. The birthing rooms are newly remodled and are very peaceful and comforting. They don't do water births at this hospital or at least didn't a year ago so that might be a downside- not sure what you plan on doing. They encourage you to make a birth plan and do a great job following it. I felt very comfortable... well besides the labor pains and all. There are wonderful at fairview!! - Good Luck.. peace and love

I am a HUGE fan of Abbott NW. I've had both of my boys there, and the staff has been nothing but WONDERFUL. I had to go in a ton of times (I kept thinking my water broke, or I was having contractions), and the staff never once made me feel stupid. They are so amazing. When I had trouble nursing my first son, they were so good at helping me, and were so calm. The nurses are wonderful!!

I went to the PeriNatal clinic... it's for High Risk pregnancies, and because high risk is so scary, I wouldn't want for you to have to see them!!

Congratulations. I loved being pregnant.
Our little girl was born at Abbott and we were treated like royalty. Staff were available but not overly in-your-face. They really gave space is what we really liked.
Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Elfstrand was great. She delivered but she was not our OB. My 'regular' OB was vacationing. SHe is now my gyn.
###-###-####. John Haugen and Associates. The office we went to was downtown Mpls. We easily bused there.

Good luck and enjoy!

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