FInding a new Pediatrician

Finding a Pediatrician


The best way to start looking for a pediatrician is by asking other parents you know and trust. They are likely to know you, your style, and your needs. You also should consider asking your obstetrician for advice. She will know local pediatricians (who are competent and respected within the medical community. If you’re new to the community, you may decide to contact a nearby hospital, medical school, or county medical society for a list of local pediatricians.

If you are a member of a managed care plan, you probably will be required to choose a pediatrician from among their approved network of doctors. Once you have the names of several pediatricians you wish to consider, start by contacting and arranging a personal interview with each of them during the final months of your pregnancy. Many pediatricians are happy to fit such preliminary interviews into their busy schedules. Before meeting with the pediatrician, the office staff should be able to answer some of your more basic questions: Is the pediatrician accepting new patients with my insurance or managed care plan? What are the office hours? What is the best time to call with routine questions? How does the office handle billing and insurance claims? Is payment due at the time of the visit? Both parents should attend the interviews with pediatricians, if possible, to be sure you both agree with the pediatrician’s policies and philosophy about child rearing.

 Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask any questions. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. How soon after birth will the pediatrician see your baby? Most hospitals ask for the name of your pediatrician when you’re admitted to deliver your baby. The delivery nurse will then phone that pediatrician or her associate on call as soon as your baby is born. If you had any complications during either your pregnancy or the delivery, your baby should be examined at birth, although this exam may be conducted by a staff pediatrician or neonatologist at the hospital if your pediatrician is not there at the time of delivery. Otherwise, the routine newborn examination can take place anytime during the first twenty­four hours of life. Ask the pediatrician if you can be present during that initial examination. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about your baby and get answers to any questions you may have. Your baby will undergo routine newborn tests that will screen for hearing and jaundice levels as well as thyroid and other metabolic disorders. Other tests may need to be done if your baby develops any problems after birth or to follow up on any unusual findings on your prenatal sonograms.