Pregnancy is an emotional time in any expectant parent’s life. There is nothing like the excitement of welcoming a new baby into the world. However, parents can also feel uncertain and anxious about all of the preparations that must be made prior to the baby’s arrival.
In addition to going to your Obstetrician for prenatal care, it is also important to make a decision in regard to who your baby’s doctor will be. It is a good idea to begin doing research on local Pediatricians by the time you are in your late second or early third trimester. You should approach choosing your child’s Pediatrician much like you would approach choosing your own doctor. Here are a few recommendations for helping to make your decision:
Ask your friends and family members for their recommendations on a Pediatrician. You are most likely to trust the opinion of those who are closest to you. You may want to ask your Obstetrician for a list of Pediatricians they would recommend. You can also call your local hospitals for a list of affiliated Pediatricians.
After you compile some options of Pediatricians, search online to view details about their education, background and certifications. You can also gather insight from patient reviews and ratings. Websites such as Healthgrades and hospital sites are good places to find this information. This research may help you narrow down your list.
Contact the Office
Once you compile a list of Pediatricians and search for them online, you will want to ask each of their offices questions. It is important to ask if the physician is accepting new patients. You will also want to make sure that the provider takes your insurance plan. Ask about office hours and important office policies. Set up an appointment to meet with each Pediatrician. If possible, make sure both parents are able to make the office visit.
What to Ask the Pediatrician
Make a list of questions that you would like the doctor to answer. Do not be afraid to ask any questions that are important to you. Ask the Pediatrician about his/her past experience and if they are board certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some other common questions that you may want to consider include:
- How soon after birth will my baby be seen?
- How often will my baby be seen for check-ups and vaccinations?
- How do you incorporate sick visits into your schedule?
- What if my child gets sick after office hours or on a weekend?
- If my baby gets sick, which hospital should I take him/her to?
- What will happen if you are not available? May I meet the other Pediatricians in your practice?
Making a Choice
Choosing your child’s Pediatrician is an important decision. Your child’s Pediatrician will not only take care of your baby but will also be there to counsel you and answer your questions throughout your child’s early years. Trust your instincts and make your decision based on who you feel most comfortable with.
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