Choosing a pediatrician is one of the most important decisions you will make during your pregnancy. Your pediatrician will be your source of information on your child’s health, growth, and development for many years to come. You want to make sure the pediatrician is someone you feel comfortable with and someone your child will also feel comfortable too. Consider the following factors when choosing your child’s pediatrician:
If you feel strongly on any baby or child-rearing issues, such as breastfeeding, circumcision, or attachment parenting, you want to be sure that your pediatrician is informed about these topics and supports your decisions.
Ask what their office hours are and how easy it is to get an appointment. If you work fulltime, you may want to choose an office that has evening or weekend hours for routine visits. You will want to be sure it won’t be difficult to get your child an appointment when he or she is ill. It’s also important to find out what happens if you need help after hours; is there a doctor on call, or do they share call with another practice?
Location can also be a big factor. You will likely want to choose an office close to your home or place of employment.
You may wish to have a doctor who strictly specializes in children, or one that is in a family practice. Each can have their pros and cons. You will also want to see if they are board certified in their specialty. Checking to see if they are facing and disciplinary or legal action is also a wise choice.
At some point, it is likely that your child will require additional testing, such as an x-ray or a lab test. Inquire with your potential pediatrician’s office as to whether additional testing can be done on site, or you will have to go to another clinic or hospital to have it done.
There are many different factors to consider when choosing a pediatrician, so may be more important than others. Overall, the practice you choose should be a pleasant place with friendly faces for both you and your child. If you get a bad vibe, trust your gut.
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