Friday, March 30, 2012

Choosing a Pediatrician For Your Newborn

Many expecting parents are so focused on the impending birth of their little one that they overlook the importance to plan for the baby's medical care once they arrive. Newborns see a pediatrician many times during their first year of life, beginning just after birth. Plan ahead to choose a good pediatrician before your newborn enters the world.

Plan Ahead
Expecting parents should begin the search for the right pediatrician about three months before their due date. An excellent way to find a pediatrician is to ask other new moms, neighbors and friends about the pediatrician they use, and ask if they like the doctor. Asking obstetricians and midwives is also a good way to get pediatrician suggestions.

After making a list of possible pediatricians, go to the website of the insurance company providing the family medical coverage. It is important to ensure that a pediatrician is a preferred provider with the primary insurance company. Because a baby needs so many well-child visits, vaccinations and sick visits, paying the extra cost for an out-of-network doctor can create significant expenses for new parents.

Narrow the Candidates
After making a list of candidates, determine a final list a pediatricians to consider. Base the top choices on how close the doctor's office is, how many people have recommended the doctor, if the office has extended hours such as evenings and weekends without extra charges, and if the office has a nurse hotline to call for basic questions.

This is a good time to ask those who recommended the doctor what they liked most about the pediatrician. Do they encourage questions? Have a great bedside manner? Keep patients moving quickly through the office without long waits? Determine which items are most important to you and prioritize the list.

Visit the Offices
Visit the offices of each of the doctors you are considering. With an appointment, it is possible talk to the doctor directly. Ask their views on cord blood banking, circumcision, breastfeeding and other issues important to parents and children post-delivery. Cord blood banking is where the baby’s umbilical cord blood is collected following delivery to be saved for the family and potentially used in a future medical treatment for the baby, possibly a sibling. It's important to see how the staff interacts with you and your concerns before choosing to work with them and your baby.

Be sure to ask what happens if the primary doctor is out of town or unavailable, especially for an after-hours emergency. Do they have other doctors in the practice? Do they have an agreement with another pediatrician to cover in those situations? Answering all of these questions will help you feel more comfortable going through the transition of expecting mother into motherhood knowing that you will have trusted people to work with concerning your newborn’s health. 

This article was written by Alan Cassidy, an active writer within the blogging community covering maternity and childbirth, and always advocating for infant and children’s health. Connect with him on Twitter @ACassidy22

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