Patient Stories

Find your care

Whether you need a preventative examination, pregnancy care or treatment for a gynecological condition, our OB/GYN specialists are here for you. Call 310-794-7274 to schedule an appointment today.

View Patient Stories

The UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is committed to maintaining excellence in patient care.

We take great pride in being able to share some of our patients' stories with you.

Ovarian Cancer, Bon Voyage

Ms. Thompson has led an adventurous life full of travel until ovarian cancer left her grounded. She sought out treatment at UCLA Health's multidisciplinary gynecologic oncology care team. Under the care of Dr. Sanaz Memarzadeh and Dr. Kari Kubalanza, Ms. Thompson is on the road to recovery. She's now plotting her next big trip.

She didn't want to be a statistic. Now she's raising awareness of the Black maternal health crisis

Anitra and baby

Anitra MacVeety ’s pregnancy was anything but textbook. Over the course of 37 weeks, she faced a rare autoimmune condition that left painful blisters in her mouth, a short cervix that put her at risk for preterm birth, and life-threatening atrial fibrillation 24 hours after delivering her daughter. She knew the statistics were particularly dire for someone like her, a Black woman in America, who statistically is 2.6x more likely to die from giving birth compared with non-Hispanic White women. Rashmi R. Rao, MD, maternal and fetal medicine specialist at Westwood OBGYN and health sciences assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, took over as Anitra's OB after her 19 week anatomy scan and ensured that Anitra was advocated and taken care of throughout the rest of her pregnancy, as well as after. 

Routine pregnancy scan revealed rare chromosomal condition in a developing baby

KC Brandenstein and husband, Jason Benoit, at home with their newborn daughter, James.


A routine pregnancy scan revealed a rare chromosomal condition in a developing baby. UCLA Health’s Christina Han, MD, maternal-fetal medicine specialist and associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, quickly rallied a multidisciplinary team of specialists to find answers for mom KC Brandenstein.

Complex surgery heralds a happy New Year for patient and child

Irene Rodriguez and baby Melanie

Irene Rodriguez and her unborn daughter faced an urgent challenge that demanded a complex medical response at UCLA Health. 

An MRI disclosed that Rodriguez’s child had a large mass on her neck that, once the baby was delivered, might interfere with her ability to breathe independently. Her doctors referred her case to UCLA.

Ilina Pluym, MD, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA Health Santa Monica, and a multidisciplinary team of UCLA Health physicians assembled to perform a rare operation called an ex-utero intrapartum treatment, or EXIT. It was the first successful EXIT procedure performed at UCLA.

Mya Hendrix Overcomes Adversity Towards Motherhood


“Going through pregnancy was really something that I wanted to share with other women with disabilities because a lot of people are told that they can’t, so I thought that was something really important,” said Mya Hendrix, a UCLA Health patient. Illina Pluym, MD, a UCLA Health OB-GYN, was also quoted. Dr. Pluym, a maternal-fetal medicine physician at UCLA, was a part of Hendrix's medical care team.


Baby delivered at 29 weeks for heart surgery now thriving

baby delivered at 29 weeks

Ariyana Hernandez’s obstetrics appointment on a Friday in late January was supposed to be a routine 28-week checkup. But during the ultrasound, her obstetrician noted what appeared to be a mass on the baby’s heart. The hours that followed were a blur: an appointment with a specialist, then an immediate referral to UCLA Health for a pediatric cardiology evaluation. By the end of the day, Hernandez had met with Gary Satou, MD, co-director of UCLA’s fetal cardiology program, who identified the mass as a rare pericardial teratoma, and she had talked by phone to high-risk obstetrician/gynecologist Yalda Afshar, MD, PhD, who arranged to see her Monday morning.


For mom of 4, journey to motherhood includes coming to terms with congenital heart disease.

Growing up, Nancy was keenly aware that she had a heart condition. But it wasn’t until she got pregnant, at 24, that she first visited UCLA Health and started coming to terms with her heart condition. In 2013, when she was 17 weeks pregnant, the strain of pregnancy on her already compromised heart landed her in the hospital. “Pregnancy is a natural stress test,” explained Yalda Afshar, MD, PhD, co-director of the UCLA cardio obstetrics program, who’s treated Mendez during her three subsequent pregnancies. For the rest of her pregnancy, she was seen regularly by UCLA Health’s high-risk obstetricians and the adult congenital heart disease team, and her baby was also monitored by the Fetal Cardiology Program, given the increased chance of her baby also having congenital heart disease. After her first son was born, Nancy had three more sons, all under the care of UCLA Health’s high-risk obstetrics team. 

Mom of 4 with heart disease

A mom’s C-section no longer automatically rules out future vaginal births

Baby wrapped in white blanket

Cristina Albu delivered her first daughter four years ago via cesarean section after she developed an infection during labor and her unborn baby showed signs of possible distress. Daria Bogdan was born through natural labor the day before a scheduled C-section. After becoming pregnant again in 2022, she scheduled a C-section for her October due date. But she and her UCLA Health obstetrician, Aparna Sridhar, MD, also had a backup plan. If Albu went into labor naturally, she wanted to try for a vaginal delivery. The day before her surgical appointment, Albu had a successful vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

A 43-year-old woman gets pregnant after fibroid removal surgery at UCLA Health

Danel Lombard and Dr. Valentina Rodriguez
From left: Danel Lombard and Dr. Valentina Rodriguez

What to know about fibroids and fertility.

After several challenging years of trying to build a family, a now-pregnant Danel Lombard is full of feelings: relieved, excited, lucky. Having met her fiancé later in life, Lombard, now 43, began her family-building journey at the age of 40. After six months of trying and no pregnancy, she was referred to a fertility specialist to undergo a series of tests. It was then that Lombard’s doctor discovered she had a fibroid on the left side of her pelvis that was blocking her fallopian tube and causing fertility issues.

A place to help gynecologic cancer survivors heal after treatment

Rachel Frankenthal
"I always felt that we had a responsibility to provide our patients with the resources and support to return to wellness," says Rachel Frankenthal. (Photo by Joshua Sudock/UCLA Health)

A new UCLA Health program includes yoga, meditation and a peer support group.

Sometimes successfully treating a patient’s gynecologic cancer is just half of the battle.

A new Gynecologic Cancer Survivorship Program at UCLA Health is aimed at helping women continue that journey by healing physically, mentally and emotionally, as they move on to their best possible lives as cancer survivors.


How genetic testing led to an unexpected ovarian cancer diagnosis 

Tara Paul
Photo courtesy of Tara Paul

A woman with a family history of breast cancer shares her journey

With a family history of breast cancer, Tara Paul, at age 46, was proactive about her health, enrolling in a clinical trial tracking women with a high risk of developing cancer. At the time, Paul had no indication this decision would lead to an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Half of the clinical trial participants underwent genetic testing, and, by chance, Paul was assigned to that group. The genetic testing revealed that Paul had a BRCA2 gene mutation, which put her at higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

A long search for a solution to her pain

Ashleigh Thiel

After years of dreading her period and living with pain, Ashleigh Thiel was referred to UCLA Health for an appointment with Dr. Daniel N. Ginn, Clinical Instructor of UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology, who specializes in the treatment of endometriosis, pelvic pain, and other gynecological diseases. After a diagnosis of endometriosis and surgical treatment, Thiel is enjoying life free of pain.

UCLA Health clinic helps mom heal after near-death birth experience

Marisa Peters and family with newborn

Marisa Peters, a 38-year-old mom of three, expected the delivery of her third child to be ordinary and uneventful, just like the births of her two other children. But right after her water broke at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Feb. 6, 2019, she became quickly aware that this delivery would be very different. Following a traumatic experience in the delivery room, Peters was referred to the Maternal Outpatient Mental Health Services (MOMS) Clinic, which was launched in 2019 by UCLA Health's OB-GYN and psychiatry departments to provide psychiatric care to women during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. Her recovery is going well and she feels grateful for the support.

Mother’s Day has special meaning for mom who received cancer diagnosis while pregnant


Christelle Jorda wore maternity clothes to her chemotherapy sessions at UCLA Health, a sign of the jarring dichotomy at play in her body. As a growing baby kicked in her womb, powerful drugs worked to shrink the aggressive tumor invading her breast. Two years ago, after Jorda was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma during her first trimester of pregnancy, her UCLA Health team of doctors, including Rashmi Rao, MD, assistant clinical professor in the division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Lindsey Kroener, assistant clinical professor in the division of Fertility and Reproductive Health, worked to treat her and safeguard the health of her long-anticipated second child. Mother’s Day 2022, Jorda, 35, celebrated a year of remission since completing breast cancer treatment, as her daughter, who went through nine rounds of chemotherapy in utero, hits milestones of her own.

Pandemic, type 1 diabetes and an umbilical cord issue: A woman navigates a tricky path to her first Mother’s Day

Mary Farah and her family

Long before she was ready to start a family, Mary Farah knew exactly how she wanted her pregnancy and delivery to go. A devotee of natural remedies and holistic medicine, she envisioned a home birth, with her husband and a midwife and doula by her side. But Farah hadn’t anticipated expecting her first child during a pandemic. And being she has type 1 diabetes, her pregnancy already was considered high risk. With the expertise of Christina Han, MD, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at UCLA Health, Mary had a successful delivery and says she’s full of gratitude as she celebrates her first Mother’s Day with her husband and baby girl Mabel.

Partners in Pregnancy

Aparna Sridhar, MD

I just want to express my sincere gratitude for the OB team at UCLA Westwood. Dr. Aparna Sridhar saw me through two pregnancies; while both were fairly uncomplicated, I had severe morning sickness as well as a miscarriage in between those pregnancies, so I had some anxiety about everything going well. What I appreciated the most is that Dr. Sridhar - and her staff - made me feel like we were partners in my medical decision-making. She of course provided all the guidance, but she never short-changed our questions and concerns and despite being in a busy hospital, I never felt rushed. 

IVF Success

Al Safi

I just wanted to start by saying WOW! After having four consecutive miscarriages, I decided to take matters into my own hands and seek help from the best of the best. My husband and I first went to UCLA (over an hour away each direction) to meet Dr. Al-Safi back in January 2020. We had a very in depth consultation regarding my past medical history as well as avenues to take going forward. We chose to run every possible test, blood panel, karyotyping, etc to rule out everything possible. He left absolutely no leaf unturned. I came with a HUGE list of questions (over 30) and he answered them all. He is extremely professional and never made me feel silly or ignorant for asking the questions I had.

Father’s Day special delivery during COVID-19

Father holding kids

If this Father’s Day feels quieter than the last couple, UCLA physician Jason Jalil, MD, is OK with that. On May 22, under the care of Radhika Rible, MD, of UCLA’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Jalil’s wife gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy. Their first son also was born at UCLA, a little more than two years ago. But this time, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience of fatherhood has been quite different. 


The holistic, relationship-based approach of the UCLA Nurse-Midwife program

Natalie Smith

“We’re really excited about the ‘magic hour’ our midwife will be helping us create right after I give birth,” says Natalie Smith, who is expecting her first baby in October. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, once our midwife delivers the baby, she’ll step back so we can have some intimate, uninterrupted family time. She’ll take care of anything medical that can’t wait, but she knows our priority is skin-to-skin time as a new family.

Even during COVID-19 giving birth at UCLA is still a joyous occasion

Lakin Saucedo holding newborn

“I asked my OB, Dr. Aparna Sridhar, what is birth going to look like during COVID-19?” wondered Lakin Saucedo. Lakin gave birth to her daughter Ryan Saucedo, with wife Lindsey Foster, on April 5th, 2020. The first change expectant mothers will notice is fewer visits to the hospital. Lakin enjoyed sending messages via the MyUCLA Health portal, remarking, “Dr. Sridhar never got sick of us asking endless questions, specifically after things started to change with the pandemic.”


Charting your own course with the help of the UCLA Nurse-Midwife program

Carleigh Garcia

“While you’re in labor, it’s like you’re in a cocoon with your family and nurse-midwife. You’re charting your own course in your own world, comfortably and naturally,” says Carliegh Garcia, who is expecting her fourth child in December. “The birth process for my first three – all delivered by UCLA nurse midwives – was very straightforward. I hope that will be the case for this baby, too.


Treatment for gynecologic cancer

Mary Jane

My gynecology Oncologist is awesome. The day I first visited his office I was upset and thought I was going to die a terrible death. He spent over an hour with me explaining my diagnosis and proposed treatment plan. He answered all my questions, and I left his office with hope and a feeling I was going to be ok. I had no problems with my surgery and he guided me to my Oncologist for chemo and Radiologist for radiation treatments.

A doctor who upholds the mission of UCLA CICARE

Dr. Amy Stoddard

Dr. Amy Stoddard is the poster doctor for CICARE. She makes patients feel like patients and not like another number in her schedule. She always goes above and beyond for not only her patients but for her staff. the clinic, and the department. Dr. Stoddard never says no to any patient, and even though she's always extremely busy, since she is a very popular doctor, she always makes anything happen for her patients.


Reassurance during a high-risk pregnancy

Tina A. Nguyen, MD

Dr. Tina Nguyen was assigned as my high risk OB when I was admitted to the hospital over 2 months ahead of my daughter's due date after my water broke. In the week leading up to my daughter's birth, Dr. Tina was a regular presence, checking in frequently to answer our questions and ensure we understood the possible outcomes. All my reservations about not having chosen Dr. Tina and meeting her under such stressful circumstances quickly vanished - she reassured me with her calm and confident demeanor.

Fertility treatment at UCLA

Kathleen M. Brennan, MD

Dr. Brennan worked long and hard with me to help us to conceive the most wonderful child in the world. She didn't give up on us, even when all the odds were against us!


Robotic surgery to correct pelvic-organ prolapse

Pam McFarlane

Pelvic-organ prolapse is a fairly common condition that affects some 50 percent of all women in the United States as they age. For Pam McFarlane, the feeling was like “your internal organs are about to fall out onto the sidewalk.” To correct the condition, Pam underwent a laparoscopic, robotic procedure to sew in thin mesh straps to secure the anatomy in its proper place.



Surgical treatment for uterine cancer

Fanya Bukhman

Professor, Doctor Sanaz Memarzadeh, MD, PhD saved our mother’s life! It all started from my mom’s bleeding and our immediate visit to the nearest Hospital Emergency Room, almost 3 years ago. We came to see Doctor Memarzadeh, seeking urgent critical second opinion almost 3 years ago.


Insight into the complicated dynamics of PCOS

Dr. Daniel Dumesic

In her late teenage years Heather was told that she had PCOS. Although she had not gone through a formal evaluation process, her doctor said that she most likely had PCOS because of her irregular menstrual cycles as well as her twin sister being diagnosed with it. At the time, Heather did not know the complexities of PCOS.



UCLA team performs emergency surgery to save mom and newborn baby

When mom-to-be Malisa was just a few weeks away from delivering her first child, she felt a sudden pain in her chest while at the movies with a friend. Her doctors ruled out any problems with the pregnancy but did learn she had a rare, life-threatening heart condition called an aortic dissection, a tear in the aorta located just above the aortic valve involving the arteries that take blood to the heart and brain. 

Once diagnosed, Malisa, who lives about 80 miles from Los Angeles, was airlifted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her husband Josh, a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, was on assignment in South Korea and quickly made arrangements for the 10-hour flight back to California. A team of 23 specialists assembled, including heart surgeons, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, neonatologists, nurses, a perfusionist, plus experts from respiratory therapy and neurophysiology. Dr. Carla Janzen, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, led the team that delivered the healthy baby boy. This was followed by Malisa’s surgery by a Cardiothoracic team that replaced her aortic valve, reconstructed the major arteries to the heart, arms and brain and created a new aorta.

Malisa Patient Story