We recommend that you choose a pediatrician to care for your baby at least one month prior to your due date, and confirm that the pediatrician will care for newborns. Please bring with you to the hospital the name and phone number of your pediatric care provider and he/she will be notified once your baby is born. If you do not select a pediatrician, one will be assigned to you.
Tips for Finding a Pediatrician*
During your pregnancy, you should choose a medical caregiver for your baby-to-be (unless you go to a family physician who can provide care for your baby). If this is your first baby, you need to understand the importance of this decision. A good pediatrician is more than a person to call when your baby has a fever. It is someone who will chart your child's development, address your concerns, and answer your questions about your child's health. And it is someone you will see regularly for sick visits and for well checkups.
The best place to begin looking for a pediatrician is with your family physician, obstetrician, family, friends, and colleagues. Ask them for recommendations and start gathering a list of names. You may also search for a pediatrician in our online Physician's Directory.
After you collect a few numbers, write up some questions and call to set up interviews. When you interview a physician, you should take into account:
- Professional qualifications and reputation (the American Academy of Pediatrics - AAP - will provide you with a list of board-certified pediatricians if you ask for it).
- Health care viewpoints on various issues such as proactive/preventive medicine and nutrition.
- Office hours (weekend appointments, evenings, emergencies).
- Doctor cross-coverage (who are the other doctors covering when your doctor is unavailable?)
- Location -- more than one office?
- Office environment and general feel and personalities of doctors and staff.
- After hours -- answering service/returned phone calls
- Triage system -- who answers your calls when you have a question? Do you speak with a nurse or directly with your doctor?
- Health coverage issues/ HMO/PPO -- how do you pay for visits?