Q&A: How do I find a pediatrician for my unborn baby?
My hospital is asking me to choose a pediatrician now, before my baby is born! How should I decide?
Deciding who will provide healthcare for your new baby can feel overwhelming. The best way for your to start your pediatrician research is to ask friends and relatives in your hometown who has cared for their children. Ask them about the office staff, hours, and personality of their doctors. If you are new to an area and don’t have anyone to ask, your OB may be able to provide you with a list of doctors in the area. You can also check with the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) for a list of doctors in your area.
The AAP recommends that parents use the following questions when choosing a pediatrician:
- Is the pediatrician accepting new patients?
- Is he or she covered by your insurance or managed care plan?
- What are the office hours?
- Is emergency coverage available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- Is the pediatrician available by phone or e-mail? If so, when?
- Does the practice have an after-hours answering service?
- Is that service linked to a university or children’s hospital?
- Where are patients referred after hours?
- Is there access to pediatric specialists, if needed?
- What hospital does the pediatrician prefer to use?
- How does the office handle billing and insurance claims? Is payment due at the time of the visit?
- If your child has special medical needs, ask about the practice’s overall orientation and philosophy about caring for special-needs children. Can it provide the support you need to coordinate medical care for your child?
Other things you should consider when you go to visit prospective pediatricians include:
- What is the appearance of the office? Is it clean and kid friendly?
- Is there a separate waiting area for sick children?
- Are they supportive of breastfeeding moms?
- Do they have classes or support groups?
- Do they have an answering service or 24-hour phone nurse?
No matter how much a friend or other person may love a particular doctor it is very important that
you feel comfortable with this person. So make and appointment to meet prospective caregivers, and go armed with the above questions.