Pregnancy. While amazing, it is also stressful. Doctor appointments, an ever-changing body, decorating a nursery and getting all of the items you need before the baby arrives are just a few of the things that can make a soon-to-be parent feel overwhelmed. And to top of the pregnancy sundae, you also have to find a pediatrician.
Picking the right doctor for your child may seem hard, especially when your bundle of joy hasn’t even been born yet! But rest assured, with some research and a handy-dandy checklist, the right doctor for your little one is in reach.
When should I start looking for my child’s doctor and do I have to meet them first?
Four months prior to baby’s due date the search for a pediatrician should begin. While it may not take this long to choose a doctor, it’s best to start your search early.
It may not be a requirement (for some pediatricians it is) for a parent to meet their child’s doctor beforehand, but it is the best way to know for sure if you are picking the doctor that is right for you.
Where do I find a list of doctors in my area?
To find a list of doctors in your area, just ask. Get doctor recommendations from your obstetrician/midwife, hospitals and insurance companies. Also ask friends, relatives and neighbors with children that share your parenting philosophies. They’ll be able to share first-hand experiences with you.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also offers referrals to certified practitioners in your area. These practitioners have graduated from an accredited medical school, completed an accredited residency program and passed the board exam in pediatrics. Click here to view the AAP website.
What should I look for when visiting the doctor’s office for the first time?
- Does the doctor seem to enjoy working with children?
- Does the doctor know about the latest medical advances?
- Does the doctor welcome questions/take time to discuss problems and concerns?
- Is the office staff patient and helpful?
- If it is a group practice, do you like the other doctors?
- Is the office atmosphere pleasant/kid friendly?
- Is it warm, clean and inviting?
What important questions should I ask when interviewing a doctor?
- Which hospital is the doctor affiliated with?
- Does the office accept your insurance?
- What are the office hours? (Some office’s are open weekends, while others are not.)
- Will the doctor see your newborn in the hospital or will the first contact be an office visit?
- How do you reach the doctor if your child gets sick after hours?
Once you find a pediatrician, you can breathe easy and check one more thing off your soon-to-be parent checklist.