Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) is located at 23625 Holman Highway in Monterey, California. Like our other Monterey County Hospitals, CHOMP is certified as Baby-Friendly, meaning they utilize evidence-based practices in the postpartum such as immediate skin to skin, support in breastfeeding, and rooming in. CHOMP provides a Level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), babies that are in need of a Level 3 NICU are transferred to a Bay Area hospital like Stanford or UCSF, sometimes to Dominican in Santa Cruz or Natividad in Salinas.
CHOMP refers to their labor and delivery unit has a "Family Birth Center." It's important to note that the natural birth experience offered by a freestanding birth center is not the same as the "Birth Center" in a hospital. This is just the name that they have given their labor and delivery, it does not mean they necessarily offer a more natural approach to birth. To learn more about freestanding birth centers visit the American Association of Birth Center's
About CHOMP's amenities from their website:
What to expect during your birth:
"Our 13 rooms are equipped for labor, delivery, recovery, and mother-baby care. As you prepare for the birth of your child, we thought you might like to know some of the things we believe at the Family Birth Center...
In the Monterey County Weekly article, The Holistic Hole, director of CHOMP’s Family Birth Center, Catherine Powers said, "medication-free births like Ellis’s only represent about 1 percent of the hospital’s deliveries. Doulas, though rare, are allowed to attend to laboring moms... We’re all moms here at the Family Birth Center. We believe birth is a choice,” Powers says. “[But] we are a medical model, so that’s what we provide.”
You can learn more about the medical model of care (as opposed to the physiological model of care or midwifery model of care) and your options within it here.
Out of the total of 1045 births at CHOMP in 2012, 32.9% of the births were by cesarean section, (www.cesareanrates.com). Though this rate is below the state average of 33.2%, it is above the World Health Organization‘s recommendation of 10-15%. CHOMP is a non-profit hospital, ”a California survey found that women were 17% more likely to have a cesarean at a for-profit hospital than a non-profit” (Optimal Care in Childbirth by Henci Goer). Though, in 2012 CHOMP did have a higher cesarean rate than the only for-profit hospital in the county, Salinas Valley Memorial.
CHOMP is one of two hospitals in Monterey County* that do not offer the option of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) to women despite the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The National Institutes of Health‘s 2010 recommendations to do so. Unlike hospitals who support women in having a VBAC, CHOMP is not required to have an anesthesiologist or obstetrician on the floor at all times.
In 2011 CHOMP had the highest epidural rate (79%), and the highest induction rate (37%) in Monterey County*. (Monterey County Weekly) CHOMP also has the highest episiotomy rate (11%) in the county, which is quite a bit higher than other local hospitals like Natividad (2.8%) and Dominican (2.3%). (CalQualityCare.org)
CHOMP does not offer the option to birth with a certified nurse-midwife, which is the standard of care in most other developed countries and has shown to improve maternal and infant outcomes according to a recent study including 16,242 women published August 2013 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The following is a Salinas mom's experience touring CHOMP:
I toured CHOMP in spring of 2012. CHOMP seems to only allow pregnant ladies and one other adult on the tour. They also don't schedule a tour until pretty late during pregnancy. I was 6 months (I think) when I finally got to do a tour.
More reviews from Monterey County moms:
"They took me to my room – which was a teeny tiny room that they haven’t used in a long time but had to shove me in it since they were extremely busy. I stripped my clothes off as fast as I could, got my monitors on and hopped up on the bed.
"Being a first time mom, and having heard some negative stories about delivering at CHOMP, I had my concerns about being able to have a natural birth, free from interventions there. However because of my insurance, CHOMP was really my only option.
The doctor wanted to induce me at almost 37 weeks because the non-stress test was 94% and they wanted to see 100%. The doc told me he didn't want to have to have me come in every other day for a non-stress test and said I needed to be induced. I didn't have any problems throughout the pregnancy...
I've had my 3 kids at CHOMP: 2010, 2012 and 2013. I had gone in the first time expecting to do an all natural birth, no meds. I had an open mind though, knowing and telling myself it would be okay if I did end up getting an epidural. I did and it ended up saving my life and my babies, I truly believe that. I had to be turned on my side and my pelvis/hips slid out of socket because of the weight of the baby and my super lax tendons. If I had not had the epidural, I would have been in immense pain, and not have been able to push.
"My daughter was born at CHOMP. We hoped for a natural birth, but one thing lead to another and I got to experience the "cascade of interventions" first hand. We ended up with pitocin, my water was broken, an epidural, episiotomy, vacuum extraction and then my baby had to stay in the NICU for 5 days because of the infection we got while in labor, which I've learned can happen when nurses do many cervical checks after your water has broken."
"I had a c-section at CHOMP 5 years ago. I was moved three times starting the day after the surgery. The second room I was in was atrocious. There was a jack hammer breaking apart the neighboring wing. It was so loud I couldn't hear my husband talking nor my baby cry. I asked the nurse if there was anywhere else they could put me and she said 'would you rather be in the hallway?' Anyway, I waited in a wheelchair in the reception/waiting area until a room became available. It took a few hours, but I was grateful, all 13 rooms were full. I went on to have a VBAC at Sutter for my next child."
I include every review that is sent to me, if there is helpful information that you would like me to include, please let me know.
Learn more about local hospitals and read reviews from local women:
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Natividad Medical Center
Salinas Valley Memorial
Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center
You can view and download a chart comparing hospital options and amenities here.
If you birthed at CHOMP please share your experience in the comments below!
*hospitals included were those with 200 beds or more
Natural Birth Series
Sept 28 – Nov 15
Infant Sleep for Expecting & New Parents
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Gentle Cesarean: Planning & Recovery
Toro Park, 3-6:30pm
Natural Birth Refresher
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Preconception & Early Pregnancy Class
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Sibling Prep for Parents & Kids
November 4th & 5th
Toro Park, 2:-4pm
Fall Home & Birth Center Birth Series
Nov 7 – Dec 12
Natural Birth Series
Nov 29th – Jan 17th