Are you expecting a baby? Are you wondering when you should start looking for a pediatrician? Are you not sure when you should decide on a pediatrician?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact some top searches on Yahoo and Google are “when to choose a pediatrician”, “when should I look for a pediatrician”, and “when to select a pediatrician.” It is a wise choice to decide on your child’s doctor before you have the baby.
I, personally, starting looking for a pediatrician when I was about 6 months pregnant. However, you can start searching for a pediatrician even just shortly after you learn your are pregnant. If you have any friends with children, ask them which pediatrician they use. You might also ask coworkers, friends from church or even just a random mom you meet in line at the grocery store. However, remember to take all suggestions with a grain of salt. You’ll hear a lot of negative comments. You might even hear a horror story or two. Try to take the advice from a friend you trust.
If you do not have any friends with kids or if you just want some additional advice, you might ask on an online message board. Visit cafemom.com and join a local group for moms in the area. Ask for advice on the best pediatrician, and why they should choose him or her. You’ll hear lots of positive remarks, and you might get some bitter comments as well. You might ask for a pediatrician that has a short wait time and has a good personality. It’s probably best to avoid a doctor who has a reputation for very long wait times in the office. While they might be a good doctor, do you really want your sick child to have to wait for hours in the waiting room?
As you get farther in your pregnancy, you might ask for recommendations from your OB/GYN, or his/her nurse. I wanted to find a pediatrician who wouldn’t be annoyed with questions, and would take me seriously. My ob’s nurse recommended a female pediatrician whom she felt would meet my expectations.
If your OB doesn’t have any recommendations or you don’t like the ones they’ve suggested, or if you don’t have any friends to give you advice, the next thing to do is search in other resources. Look for pediatricians that advertise in local parenting magazines, or in the newspaper. If they are willing to invest in advertising, they are more likely to be accepting new patients.
Also, you definitely need to check to see if the pediatrician accepts your insurance. If there is only one in your area that takes your insurance, and you do not like him/her, it might be worth using a pediatrician in another nearby town.
After you’ve heard some recommendations, you should meet with the perspective pediatrician before the due date. Most pediatricians are happy for you to “interview” them. (Some that have very busy practices might not go for it, and that is a sign they probably don’t need you as a need patient.) As a general rule, only interview a pediatrician if you are pretty sure you will use him/her if the interview goes well. You should probably wait until you are at least six or seven months pregnant. For suggestions on what to ask, please read “Questions to Ask a Prospective Pediatrican in an Interview or Prenatal Visit.”
If you haven’t decided on a pediatrician before your due date, you will probably use the on-call pediatrician in the hospital. If you have selected one, he or she can be the doctor to examine your baby in the hospital, and check him/her until you are discharged. It is best to choose one before your due date, so he/she can be the doctor to treat your baby right from birth.
For more advice, please read “Twenty Important Things to Do During Your Pregnancy” and “Important Pregnancy Facts Every Mom Must Know to Protect Her Baby.” You might also check out “7 Random Parenting Tips and Advice.” Another helpful article to read is “Top Websites for Moms: Find Support and Resources Online.” Congratulations on your pregnancy!