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.
It is a good idea to begin doing research and start meeting with 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's five steps to help you make your decision:
Step 1: Ask Around
Ask your friends and family members for their recommendations. 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.
Step 2: Search Online
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 online research may help you narrow down your list.
Step 3: Call the Office
Once you’ve done your online research, call each office to check that they take your insurance plan. While you’re on the phone, ask about office hours and important office policies. It’s also a great time to schedule a consultation with a pediatrician.
Step 4: Meet the Pediatrician
A good time to set up a consultation appointment with each pediatrician on your short list is during your late second or early third trimester. If possible, make sure both parents are able to make the office visit to meet the pediatrician in person.
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions that are important to you – including their experience and if they are board certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Other recommended questions include:
- How soon after birth will my baby be seen?
- How often will my baby be seen for check-ups and vaccinations?
- What will happen if you are not available? May I meet the other pediatricians in your practice?
- 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?
Step 5: Trust Your Instincts
Choosing your child’s pediatrician is an important decision. They 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.
It’s important to do your homework and make sure the pediatrician you pick is the right fit for you and your growing family. Remember – trust your instincts and make your decision based on who you feel most comfortable with.