Choosing a Pediatrician
For many parents, the idea of finding a pediatrician for their new baby can seem like an impossible task. Where do you start? How do you go about lining them up for when baby arrives? The good news is, the process of finding a pediatrician can be broken down into just a few manageable steps.
To start, it’s good to know why having a board-certified pediatrician is so important.
Why is it important to have a board-certified pediatrician?
Pediatricians have special training caring for children, from newborns to young adults. In addition to their expertise in physical health, pediatricians are also experienced in helping care for children’s emotional and social wellbeing and development. They also understand the important role the family plays in raising a child, and help care for children in a family-centered way. They’re a great resource for parents as their children grow and develop, in times when children are sick and when they’re well.
Pediatricians that are board certified have gone through an extra process – beyond what the state requires for practicing medicine – to demonstrate their expertise and ongoing commitment to expanding their knowledge of pediatric medicine. You can verify if a pediatrician is board certified with this online tool from the American Board of Pediatrics.
Beginning the search
The best way to find a pediatrician is by doing your research! While you can start researching pediatricians at any time during pregnancy, we recommend that you start focusing your search somewhere around the 28-week mark.
Ask friends and family who they recommend. Your OB is also a great resource; they typically have a list of pediatricians they know and trust. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may consider looking at your plan’s website or calling to learn who is in their network of pediatricians. Take a look at each pediatrician online; you can often find their photo, practice location, care philosophy and education with a quick search. Consider how far their practice is from your home, what their office hours are, what insurance they take and what their after-hours support may be.
Narrow down your list
After researching, collect the names of several pediatricians you’re interested in. Call the practice to ask if the doctor is accepting new patients, and if so, if the practice accepts your insurance plan. This is a great time to ask some preliminary questions about the office as well. If you’re still interested in considering this pediatrician for your baby, ask if the doctor provides expectant parent interviews. These are great opportunities to meet with the pediatrician before your baby comes, ask specific questions about their care philosophy and get a better feel for the practice itself.