Choosing a pediatrician for your new baby is one of the biggest jobs during pregnancy. Parents often look to friends and family when starting the search, but the final selection involves more than just a helpful suggestion. Parents need to take several factors into consideration when choosing a pediatrician, including insurance, parenting values and beliefs, and availability.
If insurance is used to cover pediatrician expense, parents must start with the list of pediatricians who accepted family medical insurance. Simply contact your insurance company for a list. Many insurance companies publish a list of pediatricians in the “network” on the official website.
After compiling a short list of pediatricians, typically five to 10 names, parents must list all parenting values important to raising an infant and child. It is important for your pediatrician to have the same parenting values as disputes can lead to ineffective medical care. Some parenting values to take into consideration include:
After listing parenting values, make a checklist of questions to ask potential pediatricians during the pediatrician interview. Most pediatricians will accept appointments for interviews with new parents at no charge. Make the most of your time with the pediatrician by carrying your checklist with you during the interview.
The final element of choosing a pediatrician is availability. During the pediatrician interview, it is important to ask about after-hours care, contact during off-hours and coverage for the practice when the doctor is out of town or unavailable.
In certain cases, pediatricians may not have hospital rights at the hospital you’ve chosen for childbirth. If this is the case, your infant will be seen by the attending pediatrician immediately after birth with the first appointment in the pediatrician’s office occurring after the baby is discharged. If there are any complications, the pediatrician will be unable to care for your infant.
Should you choose a pediatrician?
In some cases, parents opt to choose a family physician over a pediatrician. This is solely at the discretion of the parent as pediatrician care is optional. It is important to contact your family physician before the baby is born to ensure proper post-birth care. It is also important to talk with your family physician about immunization schedules.
Choosing a pediatrician can be a difficult task, but one all parents are faced with when having children. If your first choice turns out to be the wrong choice, changing pediatricians is simple. The new pediatrician will contact your former pediatrician for patient records before or immediately after the first appointment.