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How do I choose a doctor for my baby?

It’s never too early to choose a pediatrician


By
July 21, 2017

     


You’ve planned almost everything about your pregnancy – a surprise baby announcement, a jungle-themed nursey, and even what you and baby will wear home from the hospital. But do you know who your baby’s doctor will be?

It’s never too early to start thinking about who you want to care for your newborn after delivery, says Andrea Singh, MD, a pediatrician at Park Nicollet. Many women start researching pediatricians as soon as their pregnancy test is positive.

How to choose a pediatrician

When you first found out you were pregnant, you likely researched a doctor for your pregnancy needs. The same goes for finding a doctor for your baby. You want one who fits your family and your lifestyle. Dr. Singh recommends asking these questions to help find a doctor who’s right for you.

Do I care what kind of doctor I have?

There are several providers qualified to care for your child, including:

  • Pediatricians. They’re doctors who specialize in children’s health care. They only see children. And they see them throughout their childhood.
  • Family medicine doctors. They treat your child, you and anyone else in your family.
  • Med-Peds doctors. They’re certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. They care for both children and adults.
  • Physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They’re other excellent options who are also specifically trained in children’s health care.

Can you recommend a doctor?

Talk with your family and friends to see who they recommend. Ask fellow parents or even your OB-GYN or nurse midwife. Research doctors online. Look on your health insurance’s website for doctors who are in-network. This will help you make an informed decision.

Where’s the doctor’s office located?

After your baby’s born, her first check-up will be within the first two weeks of delivery. You’ll then take her in for regular wellness visits. In fact, before your baby celebrates her first birthday, she’ll have had at least six routine check-ups! You might have to go in more often for weight or jaundice checks, or if your baby gets sick. Make it easier by choosing a doctor who’s close to home or daycare.

How much do office visits cost?

Most health insurance fully covers routine well child visits. It’s important to check your insurance to see your benefits. Contact your health insurance provider to learn more about your plan details, so you can find a doctor who’s right for you and your baby.

Can I meet a doctor before my baby’s born?

See if your clinic hosts open houses. This is a great way to meet doctors and see the office.

Should I get along with my baby’s doctor?

You’re looking for more than just a doctor. You’re looking for someone to help guide your child’s development and your parenting. Your baby’s doctor needs to be someone you’re comfortable speaking to and trust.

Can I easily communicate with the doctor?

You’ll be faced with many questions as you navigate your new life with a newborn. You’ll want your doctor to be someone you can be open with and turn to for help.

How do I contact the doctor’s office after hours?

It always seems that your child will develop a cough or have a fever spike in the middle of the night. Find out who will be available after office hours to talk through your child’s symptoms and treatment options.

Is this doctor or clinic accepting new patients?

Clinics will occasionally be closed to new patients. Confirm that the doctor you want your child to see is accepting new patients.

What if it’s not a good fit?

That’s OK! In a perfect relationship, you trust your doctor to give you medical advice and rely on her to guide you through the process of raising a healthy child. If it’s not working, it’s OK to find another provider. We want your child to get high-quality, routine care. For that to happen you and your child need to be happy.

There’s a lot to remember when you’re pregnant. Your to-do list continues to get longer as you prepare for your new baby. Make time now to find a doctor who will fit your lifestyle and individual needs.

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