Picking a Pediatrician
Now that you're in your last trimester, you should choose a pediatrician for your baby-to-be. You can also decide to go to a family physician who can provide care for your baby. Choosing a doctor for your baby is an important decision. A good pediatrician is more than a person to call when your baby has a fever. This provider will:
- Chart your child's development
- Address your concerns
- Answer your questions about your child's health
This is someone you will see regularly for sick visits and for well checkups.
Start with your family physician, obstetrician, family, friends, and colleagues. Ask them for recommendations. Then start gathering a list of names. After you collect a few numbers, write up some questions and call to set up interviews. When you interview a physician, you should take into account:
- Professional qualifications and reputation (the American Academy of Pediatrics -- AAP -- will provide you with a list of board-certified pediatricians if you ask for it).
- Health care viewpoints on various issues such as preventive medicine and nutrition.
- Office hours (weekend appointments, evenings, emergencies).
- Doctor cross-coverage (who are the other doctors covering when your doctor is unavailable?).
- Location. Is there more than one office?
- Office environment and general feel and personalities of doctors and staff.
- After hours. Answering service/returned phone calls.
- Triage system. Who answers your calls when you have a question? Do you speak with a nurse or directly with your doctor?
- Health coverage issues/ HMO/PPO. How do you pay for visits?
John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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