Finding the right pediatrician for your newborn can be quite challenging for first time expectant mothers. The choice that you make is extremely important, as a pediatrician-baby relationship often last till kids reach their teens. This wellness journey must start with an experienced, well-qualified, and caring doctor. Here we will talk about some key areas to concentrate to find a skilled and friendly pediatrician for your baby.
When to Start the Search?
Searching for a skilled pediatrician is very important for a newly expectant mother so waiting till the birth of the child is not necessary. It is ideal to start your hunt as early as 3 months before your due date. Start your search within your family, ask your family members and friends for references. You can even take opinions from your neighbors, colleagues, or even your family doctor can help with references to credible pediatricians. Streamline your search to find a nearby pediatrician if you are new to a particular area. If you have health insurance coverage, they will help you with tools to find the doctors in your location who come under your insurance cover. If you search online, go through reviews, ratings, and actual patient feedback to make sure you find a credible doctor who matches your expectations.
Physician or Pediatrician? How to Decide?
Both physicians and pediatricians have the same training period, however, the physician will take care of patients belonging to all age groups whereas a pediatrician is specialized to treat children. It is your choice, to consult a general physician or someone who is specialized in handling behavioral issues, and all other areas of pediatrics. In such cases verifying board certification is very important as it ensures that the person you choose is up-to-date on pediatric knowledge. This is essential because all pediatricians are affiliated to the medical board and they need to be so in order to practice. This means that every one of them will have to take up exams once every ten years to continue the affiliation. This invariably helps to stay abreast of the latest improvements and technologies in the field. This also allows them to extend their professional practice till they decide to retire.
Qualification Hurdles: MD or DO?
The next question that bothers you will be the doctor’s qualification, whether you want to approach an MD or DO. Both are equal degrees, both degrees will give training on diagnosis and treatment line. During the Doctor of Medicine (MD) course, they learn traditionally whereas the Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) course has a holistic approach towards medicine. However, either way, the doctors should undergo the residency period to get hands-on training, only then they are qualified to appear for the exam.
Check Your Pediatrician’s Network
It is vital to check if the pediatrician runs a clinic, or has a network system with other specialist doctors and hospitals. This will help during an emergency when it is necessary to get your child admitted to a hospital. Also if any other specialists’ attention needs to be sought, this networking of doctors can help to provide the correct treatment during emergencies. Some pediatricians are employed in hospitals, whereas others in the corporate sector. They can guide you to a specialist or hospital during emergencies. An unconnected pediatric may not be in a position to refer your baby to safe hands during such critical times. Hence, bear this in mind while making your choice.
You never know when you might get into an emergency situation with a newborn. Hence it is extremely important to ensure you choose someone who is accessible 24*7. You cannot go find a nearby pediatric doctor during an emergency. So it is best to choose someone who isn’t located very far from your neighborhood. While doing so, check for the best arrangements your pediatrician has in his absence to handle late-night emergencies. Being able to consult on phone during emergencies can be an advantage too. Hence, choose someone who is ready to answer the phone at any time.
If you are planning to register with a pediatric clinic, check whether you can take your baby directly to any available pediatric at your appointment time? Even though this facilitates a faster treatment option, it is your personal choice, to go according to convenience. However, it is recommended to stick to the same pediatrician who knows your baby from day one. This will help to build a strong bonding between the patient and the doctor.
Apart from patient consultation, check what other services the doctor offers. Some of the pointers are given below;
- What are the service costs and payment options?
- Do they offer prenatal services to help overcome anxiety?
- Do they conduct classes for expectant mothers to train them on how to take care of their newborns?
- Would he/she be available during your delivery to examine the newborn?
- What are their vaccination policies?
- Check for additional facilities like in-house assistance, lab services with the home collection, online consultation to check the baby’s lab results, and immunization records.
All these queries need to be clarified before choosing a pediatrician.
Are Your Expectations Met?
Making a personal visit to your pediatrician can help you assess if you are comfortable working with their team. It is a good idea to check how the clinic operates, how good the health staff members are in dealing with patients, and the cleanliness of the clinic. Also, personal visits will give you a golden chance to talk to other parents and check how satisfied they are about the care and service they provide. It is an opportunity to check if the pediatrician has the patience and time to listen and clarify your queries. Once all your questions are answered you will be in a better position to decide. This can lay the foundation for a relationship for the coming years.
Ultimately, the pediatrician you choose should have smooth and flawless communication with both you and your baby. Deciding on the right person before your baby’s birth can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety about your newborn and neonatal care.