Finding A Pediatrician (And Other Related Services)
First-time parents are so busy preparing for their first children that they do not realize that they are forgetting to do some of the most important tasks of all. It is not putting together the crib or making sure the changing pad is properly attached to the changing table (although those things are important!), but rather finding a pediatrician and related pediatrician services. Before you get caught up in full nesting mode, here are a few really important doctor-related tasks that you need to do before the baby arrives.
Choose a Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician is vital because this is the doctor your baby will see within the first few days after birth and for the rest of his or her childhood and adolescence. It can feel like you are standing in front of a wall of plastic-wrapped sandwiches of various breads, meats, and spreads, and choosing just one to consume for the rest of your days. It is overwhelming and daunting at the same time, because really, how do you know who your child is going to like as his or her doctor? You do not, and all you really can do is ask around for suggestions and a referral from your insurance provider. And luckily, you can always change pediatricians in the future, once you know more about your child.
If prenatal screenings have shown that your child may need a specialist, you can talk to the pediatrician you have chosen ahead of your child's birth. Ask your chosen pediatrician about who he or she would recommend as the specialist your baby will need. Then arrange an appointment to meet with that specialist and make sure that he or she is taking new patients. You will need the referral from your chosen pediatrician for insurance purposes anyway, and that really is the best way to go about finding a pediatric cardiologist, pediatric orthopedist, and so on.
After-Hours Care for Your Baby Once the Baby Has Arrived
Pediatricians are on call on nights and weekends, but this does not mean that your specific pediatrician will be the one to be on call when your baby seems sick. You can contact the pediatrician's office and speak to whichever pediatrician is on call, or you can take your baby to the emergency room if the illness seems life-threatening. You will have to schedule a follow-up appointment with your pediatrician the next day regardless of which action you choose anyway, so do what you feel is best for your sick baby. In most cases, you will feel better about knowing that you did something rather than waiting until the next morning.