Everything you need to know about choosing a pediatrician. If you have questions on how to pick a pediatrician, this article is perfect for you.
One of the many preparations you must make for your new baby is choosing a pediatrician to care for him. If this is your second baby, the choice may be obvious for you – you may already have a relationship with a pediatrician you trust. If, however, you are new to parenthood, you might wonder how to pick a pediatrician right for you. Here are some tips to help you get started.
You can learn about pregnancy stages and get week by week pregnancy information in our website.
First, when should you start the process? Ideally, you will make your decision a couple of months before your due date. Some babies pay no attention to a timely arrival, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Give yourself enough time to gather all the data necessary to make a wise choice.
Start by asking your friends who have children about their pediatricians or family practitioners. What do they like? What don’t they like? Why? As consumers themselves, they are one of your best sources of information. You also may want to ask your obstetrician or nurse-midwife about the pediatricians or family practitioners they work with. Another source of information is a hospital referral service. It can give you information about pediatricians on staff.
Make sure that the pediatricians you are considering are contracted with your insurance plan before you make an appointment for a prenatal consultation. Unfortunately, this must be an important part of choosing a pediatrician.
Choose Location Wisely
As you are gathering your list of potential pediatricians, keep in mind where their offices are located. Location may not be everything, but remember that in the best case scenario of perfect health, you will be visiting the pediatrician every couple of weeks in the baby’s first month, and then every couple of months throughout the baby’s first year! Suffice it to say that a convenient office location will make your life a little easier. So, if you think how to pick a pediatrician, the location is an important criterion for you.
Meet in Person
While choosing a pediatrician, once you have a list of names, you will want to schedule prenatal consultations. A prenatal consultation is a visit with a potential physician to give you the opportunity to learn more about them and the way they practice medicine. Many offices do not charge for these visits, but some do. Make sure to find out in advance.
Schedule the visit at a time when you and your significant other can both attend. Use the opportunity to get a feel for the office. Were you well received? Is the waiting room child friendly?
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Questions to Ask
There are several things you may want to discuss with the him before choosing a pediatrician. Pick the topics that are most important to you, and make sure you discuss them first. Availability of the pediatrician will certainly become important to you and depends on several aspects of the practice.
- What are the office hours? Many offices have extended hours (early morning, evening and weekend) so be sure to ask.
- If your child is sick or you have a question and call during office hours, with whom can you expect to speak? Some practices have a nurse to triage phone calls during office hours, while some practices have a scheduled call back time for physicians. However the office handles these calls, you will want to know how long it takes to have your call returned and with whom you will be speaking.
- Determine how such calls are handled after hours and how to reach the on-call physician.
- Find out what the usual wait is for an appointment (both sick and well child visits), and ask how emergencies are handled.
- Hospital affiliation is another important piece of data. You will want to find out which emergency room your pediatrician refers to, and again, make sure it’s relatively easy for you to get there. In the unfortunate event that your son or daughter would ever need to be hospitalized, you’ll want to know on which hospital(s) staff your pediatrician works.
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Philosophy and practice style are a little more difficult to ascertain in a 15-minute interview, but are helpful in determining whether a pediatrician is a “good match” for you. Ask them to discuss their opinions about infant nutrition (breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and when to start solids), circumcision, immunizations, antibiotics and any other topic that is important to you. Make sure that you feel comfortable talking to this person, and that your questions are being answered. It is imperative that you and your pediatrician can communicate easily and clearly in order to form a partnership that will provide the best possible care for your child.
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Education and Knowledge
During the interview, you will no doubt want to inquire about the doctor’s training and experience. It’s impossible to measure the worth of a physician just by looking at a diploma, but you will want to know that he or she has completed a residency in pediatrics or family medicine and is board certified in either of those two fields. If you want to know specifics, feel free to ask, or just glance at their office walls! Because choosing a pediat
Lastly, cost may or may not be important to you, depending on your insurance plan. You should know that practices differ in what they charge for routine check-ups, as well as for common office procedures. Ask for a list of fees from each of the offices with whom you schedule prenatal consultations.
You should see our other articles and categories to learn the things you wonder.
Choosing a pediatrician is an important decision. It is the start of a relationship that could last 18 years or more! Give yourself enough time and data to make an informed choice.