How To Choose The Right Pediatrician For Your Baby
Becoming a parent comes with lots of responsibilities towards your baby. And one of the most import...
When To Start Looking?
Though the pediatrician services are required after your child is born, it is a wise idea to select the doctor before your child's birth. That gives you ample time and opportunity to explore various options, visit doctor offices, set up an interview appointment and then decide who works best for you. So the ideal time to decide on the pediatrician is at least 4 to 6 weeks before your due date. However, you can start the research as early as 28 weeks into your pregnancy as it is going to be a good amount of work before you pick the right one. Also, the baby might decide to come early and you would not have to worry if this choice is already made.
Shortlist The Doctors
Now this requires some research. You can go with the referral of your family and friends, check on the internet, call your insurance provider and narrow down the doctors to a certain extent. Another important thing to consider is the location of the pediatrician's office. It is advisable to choose the pediatrician located within 30 minutes drive. This helps when you have to make a quick visit to their office if need be. Since your pediatrician is going to be your child's doctor for a good number of years, deciding on the gender of the doctor might be helpful too.
Doctor Credentials & Career Graph
Though most doctors covered under the insurance policy have key designations attached, it is advisable to verify the doctor credentials and career graph. Board certified, AAP member and FAAP listing are a few things to look out for. Going through the education, career graph and clinical experience of the pediatrician will help in making the right selection. All this information might be available online or you can make a call to the doctor's office.
Schedule An Interview Appointment
Most pediatricians offer prenatal visits free of cost while some may charge for the same. You get to meet the pediatrician in person, know their personality, approach and ask them any questions you have. These visits also give you an opportunity to check out the location of the office and how well it is maintained, all of which can make your decision process much easier. Since this decision is meant to be taken by both parents, it is a good idea to go to this appointment as a couple.
Newborn Hospital Visits
This is something very important when it comes to choosing your pediatrician. It is much needed that the pediatrician makes a visit to check on your newborn right after the delivery. This helps to rule out the possibilities of any health issues for the baby soon after birth. In case any medical intervention is required, the pediatrician can do the needful. Do make a call to the pediatrician's office to find out the same.
After Hours, Emergency Visits & Email Option
Newborns can be totally unpredictable and if you are a first-time parent it can be really overwhelming. Be it a small rash or a high fever - as difficult as it is for the baby, it is equally stressful and painful for the parents to see their baby go through it. In such cases, a quick call or a visit to the doctor helps. What if all this happens after hours? Will the pediatrician be available through call? Can you meet them in case of emergency? Will your queries be answered through email if needed? All these questions need to be addressed positively. So make sure to discuss with them the after hours service, emergency visits, availability of email answering etc. beforehand.
Well Child Exams, Vaccinations & Medication
When children are young, they develop really fast and hence well-child visits are much needed. The beginning years of your child's life includes many trips to the pediatrician's office - be it for a physical exam, vaccinations or any health issue which needs to be treated with medication. All these facilities must be available at your pediatrician's office. If you are against antibiotics or have any specific queries about vaccination or any other details, make sure you discuss it all with your health care provider during the interview.
Online Patient Portal
Nowadays most pediatrician clinics offer online patient portal which has facilities like appointment booking, lab results verification, messaging the doctor etc. All you need is a login id and password provided by the doctor's clinic and that's all. You can get appointment reminders, vaccination details and many other things available through this portal.
Doctor In Action
As soon as you and your partner have decided on the pediatrician, half the job is done! Once the baby arrives and you get to see the pediatrician in action, you will surely know if you made the right choice or not. A pediatrician should be able to provide the required medical support to your baby and give referrals to other doctors if required. Anytime you feel things aren't working out, there is always an option to go for another pediatrician. Remember, all that matters is your baby's health and there is nothing wrong with making the change if required.
Do consider these things while choosing a pediatrician for your baby and you will never go wrong. Good luck!
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