Seeking Suggestions on Ob's Who Support Natural Childbirth

Updated on March 17, 2009
A.L. asks from Sunland, CA
10 answers

Hi All,

I'm 24 weeks pregnant, having a girl in July. I started a childbirth class last night and the instructor(who was a doula for several years and has a lot of experience/connections) said both my doctor and the hospital I picked isn't known supporting natural childbirth. My doctor is Sharon Nelson and the hospital is Verdugo Hills. I asked my doctor all the right questions when I first met her and I got the impression she understood every birth is different and would be willing to allow the process to be as natural as possible without being hooked up to monitors, being stuck in bed, automatically having an episiotomy, being induced, etc. One of the biggest things this instructor said was she won't let me go past my due date and I would most likely be induced and stuck on monitors. I'm not one to react quickly so I just want to get your input on what you know about this doctor and what you know about this hospital/nurses. I do have the option to give birth at Huntington with this doctor, but I don't know if the experience would be any different over there vs. Verdugo. I'm also considering getting a doula which might be the answer to having to deal with nurses I don't know, or, depending on the feedback I receive from you, I may call Dr. Grady, Dr. Morrison, or Dr. Silverstein who the instructor highly recommended. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. I look forward to your feedback. Alex

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answers from Los Angeles on


I think it's interesting that the opinion came from an instructor. Was this instructor a previous patient, know patients and, did she base her opinion on facts or heresay?

I feel very strongly about my OBGYN and LOVE her for how she has cared for me while pregnant and then after. Speaking from experience, when you've chosen the wrong doctor you will know. My OBGYN took me on after I left a group of doctor's who had varying ideologies about birthing and when I found out the ONE doctor I thought I was going to see might not even be on-call the night I gave birth.

At any rate, I wouldn't switch doctors just yet. At your next appointment talk to her about your birthing plan, and how you wish to approach things. See how she feels and what her opinion is, and then go from there.

Based on one person's opinion it is tough to make a judgement about someone. However, I understand your desire to do it your way and wish I had gotten the chance. Just make sure you know understand that everything changes in a split second and your birthing plan may have to be thrown out the window...for the safety of you and your baby.

Mine was 8 weeks early for no good medical reason, and that was just that.

I would get a doula who can help you while you are there and be your birthing advocate. Have her help you through this process...really the tough part is talking to the nurses and having someone to make sure they hear you and your needs!!

Good Luck, and congrats on the baby!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I was until very recently a patient of Dr. Nelson's. I have just switched to Dr. Dwight(haven't had my 1st appt. yet) at the recommendation of Dr. Nelson because she is unable to attend my planned VBAC. I really trust Dr. Nelson's opinions and expertise and found her to be very willing to listen to me and my concerns and do everything possible to help me and my family. I think she is an excellent doctor who truly cares for her patients and is very aware of all birthing options and supports them. I would recommend that you speak with her frankly about your concerns, visit the hospital and definitely hire a doula. Good luck to you

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi...I delivered a baby last June and used that practice. Dr.Osterkamp was my doctor, but I saw Dr.Nelson as well. I really love both of them and feel that they give really have the patients best interest at heart. Having said that, I had a scheduled c-section due to a complicated first birth, which was vaginal. I did not deliver at Verdugo, but at Huntington, which was great!! I would recommend talking to Dr.Nelson and making sure you are clear about your feelings and making sure you understand where she stands. That way you can make a decision based on what you hear from hear. I don't know much about the other doctors you mentioned, however I have heard that Dr.Grady is good, don't know about his thoughts on natural birth, though. Fianlly I would say this....have a birth plan, but keep an open mind as well. Sometimes things arise and there is a need for medical intervention. If I had persisted at my attmept to have my first baby unassisted, I would have had serious if not fatal complications. I am gratefull for the assistance of the medical staff. Congratulations and good luck to you!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You have choices and regardless of your doctor or hospital they MUST respect your choices UNLESS you or the baby are in dire need.

I have not heard of your doctor, instructor, or hospital, but it sounds like your instructor is a fear-monger. If you have had a good relationship with your doctor so far (and you are pretty far in the game) I would trust your doctor and talk to them about what the instructor said to see their reaction. Also talk to them about including a dula in the process.

You can also have a printed birthplan so regaurless of your phisical or emotional state, the doctor, dula, and hospital know your wishes. Again they must follow it, unless you or baby are at risk. I suggest bringing around 10 copies of it to the hospital so everyone has one, including each nursey you get during your hopital stay... there can be many of them.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You could always switch to the UCLA midwives. They are ALL about natural childbirth and VBAC's. Dr. Dwight is also a good Dr. for natural childbirth. All I can say is if it is really important to you, make the switch because in the moment you might get railroaded into something that isn't necessary or wanted if you aren't surrounded by Dr and nurses who have the same ideas as you. Its clear your Dr isn't really about natural birth if they won't let you go past your due date. The midwives will let you go 2 weeks past, even when trying for a vbac, they will also help with big babies. Good luck and just remember, the road will have many bumps and y's, just remember that whatever the path, at the end there will be a beautiful and wonderful little bundle.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Granted, it has been 16 years since my last baby, but I delivered all three at Huntington. My last one was born without an epidural. I pretty much think my Doctor would have allowed as much or as little medical intervention as I and the situation warranted. Two of my births required induction. It was not a big deal to me. With all three of my kids, the nurses were beyond fantastic. My sister in Law gave birth at VHH and her nurse was fantastic as well. It is not the kind of profession that has bad personnel. Years and years ago VHS had a rep for high C section rate, but I don't know it that is the case today. Who is this "Instructor"? If it were me, I would google the doctor and see what pops up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I delivered my older daughter at Verdugo with Dr. Kerri Parks. Though I had to be induced due to my high blood pressure, everything went smoothly - and quickly! No epidural, and no episiotomy. I did need a few stitches, but that was it. I just had twins and was planning to deliver vaginally at VHH with Dr. Parks. She was willing to let me give it a shot if I was far enough along (no NICU at VHH). Though I ended up delivering over 5 weeks early via c-section at Huntington, my OB would have delivered me at VHH if I'd been at least 37 weeks. The babies were having some problems and had to be delivered right away, so my desire for another easy, vaginal birth went out the window. I made it known to Dr. Parks that I wanted to try a vaginal birth, and she was fine with that.

The difference between VHH and Huntington is that they deliver a lot more babies at Huntington...and are busier. One night I only saw the nurse once...and never saw the PCA. I loved my experience at VHH as it seemed more personal. Don't get me wrong...Huntington was fine and they took great care of my babies in the NICU. I just personally like a smaller, more intimate setting.

Just make sure that your OB is on board with your birth plan. If they aren't, find one you will be happy with. Childbirth isn't something where I want to compromise on what I want.

(I just read something about not being able to have snacks at VHH...I was admitted in the evening and had missed dinner. They didn't have any problem with my husband bringing in dinner for me. And watch out at Huntington when they say they are the "suggested" meal times. I was trying to pump for babies in the NICU, avoid having the meal people see me pumping, etc. Called after 7:00 one night and got a recording that they were closed until the next morning. The nurses have turkey sandwiches at the nurses that was dinner one night. I thought that was pretty cruddy).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I was supposed to deliver at Verdugo Hills as well. I took the birthing class at the hospital and came home crying after the first night because the very first topic of conversation was the epidural! After talking it through with my OB and an acupuncturist I was seeing, I was warned that VHH is extremely conservative and not a hospital that supports natural birth. You are automatically attached to a monitor with only a short cord, leaving you little room to walk around. They do not allow you to bring any food or drinks during your labor. And when I asked about doulas, I got the impression that they would not be happy if I brought mine. I don't know anything about Huntington, but I switched to Glendale Adventist at the last minute. They were much groovier about everything....I could bring my snacks and my doula!

If you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy I would suggest hiring a doula and staying home to labor until the last possible moment. You can even get a pool. The least amount of time you spend at the hospital the better! Honestly, if I could go back and do it over again, I would have a midwife and deliver at home! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with everyone's suggestion about sitting down and talking with your doctor. That is first and foremost. Then - the next most important thing is to discuss this with your husband. That is who you will be with and who will spend your time with during labor. Until you are several centimeters dialated, you and your husband will mostly be alone, with people coming into check on occasion. If you and your husband are on the same page, he will be your advocate - I had originally planned on going entirely natural - no epidural - and he questioned and pushed me to be sure I was changing my mind for the right reasons and that I would not regret it - he was my rock and made sure I was making a good choice, not a rash decision. No one forced an epidural on me.
If you don't want to be in bed, you need to make that known - and bring other supplies - birthing rooms are small and not all hospitals have the balls and things of that nature, so if that is what you want - bring them yourself.
It is your choice to change doctors, but I would try talking to yours first and making a plan with your husband - if he supports you and knows what you want - you will be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Alex!
The question here is what is the due date?
the one set by your doctor so she can last minute induce you and cut you and be done away with you, so, she can have the rest of the day off? OR the time when your baby is done developing inside of you and decides to come into this world?
If your instructor is under the impression you will be cited to appear forinducement and a c-section at 8:a.m. the day of their choosing; then let me tell you they are working for themselves and not for you. A lot of money is paid, and you deserve the best!
And YES absolutely all deliveries are different but there are chances of it being more average than painless or difficult. 2 months ago my daughter had a horrifyihg experience with an "all natural" doctor and who after scaring her, dumped my daughter off on the threshold of her due date, because my daughter wanted to feel the labor, live, and in full color.
Last minute my son in law found Dr, Wu at Glendale adventist hospital, the building located just off freeway 210 where it connects with fwy 34, at glendale.This doctor told my daughter he woul NEVER abandon any of his patients even as difficult as my daughter's labor was even if they came in last minute. Doctor and the rest of personnel were very caring and sweet as I had not seen before. I envied my daughter. After a long and painful labor she finally dilated and Our family & Friends gathered at the waiting room. We had an envoy who came and went whit the last progress report(mom & mom-in-law). Right after she gave birth we were all allowed into the room and were joyous until it wore down. , Eleven family members saw how the baby was bathed and dressed. We all took turns holding the baby in our arms and admiring her how big, fat, long and beautiful she wa(9lbs. 3 oz. Our baby came seven days after her "due date" , and it was long and painful delivery, but this doctor sure waited on us and gave us all what we asked for. we were free to ask all the nurses and other visitors there about him ,they all gave us absolutely good reports.
Maybe you want to try it here.

Do have all the questions asked and have all the delivery pains you wish they may come or not... also do away with the epidural, also you can choose not to have an episiotomy. But please in the best interest of your child's well being, don't do away with the monitors since they tell you as a constant how well and strong your baby is doing.
Do not be scared, but if you are, do what you learned in class and should you forget... just ask and the nurses will tell you what to do.
By the way most deliveries are average, a few are difficultI for one out of my three children had one of the painless ones.
I wish you the best of luck for you and those of yours...
T. N.

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