Pediatricians play quite an important role in the life of most young children, and it is crucial to find a doctor that you trust for your baby. Interviewing pediatricians during pregnancy, and hopefully being able to pick one you like a month or two before your baby makes his or her entrance into the world, will save you the stress of looking for a doctor after your baby is already born, and perhaps having to settle for one you don't really like. We think it is a good idea to interview at least two pediatricians for your baby during your pregnancy, or possibly more if you are still looking for a good match. What should you ask a pediatrician? That depends on your personal needs, of course. Here are some suggestions for you.
- What are your working hours? Can we call you in case of emergencies, 24 hours a day?
- Will you make house calls, or do children always need to come into the office, even if they are very sick?
- Do you provide separate waiting rooms for healthy and for sick children in your office?
- What are your opinions about delayed vaccination schedules, or about not vaccinating (if applicable)?
- Are you supportive of breastfeeding? What kind of advice do you offer in case of certain challenges? (Some pediatricians see switching to formula as the one-size fits all answer to almost every problem, from rapid weight gain to slow growth, to stomach cramps. Such pediatricians are not a good fit for breastfeeding moms)
- Check if the pediatrician in question takes your insurance, and whether they charge an additional fee for any services if so, which?
- Are there any parts of routine medical care/ well baby checkups that are done outside of your pediatrician's office? If so, which ones?
- If your pediatrician is unavailable for whatever reason, how does the backup system work?
If you are interested in other items on your pregnancy to-do list, look at What do you need for your baby's nursery, and Shopping for your baby.