Pregnancy is a time that's filled with joy, hope, and sometimes confusion. Everyone is telling you what's good for you, what's good for the baby and what you absolutely, positively need to do. Along with prepping the nursery, buying dozens of onesies, making sure that you know how to install the car seat correctly, and getting your hospital bag ready to go, you also need to start interviewing pediatricians.
Your newborn will need medical care immediately - even if they are completely healthy. Waiting until baby is here to find a doctor can lead to anxiety and frustration. As you start to check out pediatricians, take a look at the common questions that can help you determine if this is the right medical provider for your family.
Is This a Group Practice?
The more precise question here might be, "Will other medical providers treat my child?" Some pediatricians work in group practices, meaning that there are several physicians who all share the office. Some group practices match the child with a dedicated provider who sees them for every sick or well visit, while others may allow you to switch between pediatricians. Other practices employ physician assistants or nurse practitioners who also see patients.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each arrangement. A group practice that allows you to switch between medical providers offers greater flexibility in scheduling. Instead of hearing that the doctor doesn't have an appointment for weeks, you can schedule a visit with another one of the practice's providers.
While ease of scheduling is a major plus for many parents, the drawback is that the doctor may know your child as well as a dedicated pediatrician. Seeing the same provider for every visit helps to build a doctorpatient relationship. This relationship (and the patient knowledge that comes with it) gives the pediatrician a deeper insight into your child and their medical or behavioral needs.
What Are Your Vaccination Policies?
The preventative benefits of vaccinations have dramatically decreased the prevalence and spread of some illnesses. The scientific research on vaccines' benefits is clear, despite many parents' worries about vaccination, so you'll need a pediatrician who can help you understand when and why to vaccinate your child.
What Is Your Philosophy on Antibiotic Use?
Like vaccination, antibiotic use has come up against plenty of recent controversy. The overuse of antibiotics is thought to cause bacterial resistance that can lead to serious illnesses that are challenging to cure.
Even though antibiotics are beneficial medications for eliminating known bacterial infections, such as strep throat, they won't do anything to fight your child's cold or stomach virus. If you have concerns about the safe use of antibiotics, talk to the potential pediatrician about their criteria for prescription.
What Is Your Educational Background?
Any practicing pediatrician should have credentials that include undergraduate, medical school, and postgraduate residency training. It's perfectly acceptable to ask the pediatrician where they went to medical school, where they did their residency, and what specialized training they have.
Is There Someone Available 24-7 for Phone Consultations?
It's not likely that every pediatrician will be in the office seven days a week - morning, afternoon, evening, and night. But it is reasonable to expect that a nurse (or even an answering service that will contact the doctor or a nurse) will be available to answer calls as needed.
Are you pregnant and looking for a pediatrician that will help your soon-to-be baby grown, develop and thrive? Contact Y.H. Parikh & Associates for more information. Our team of capable providers wants to help every child thrive, and we have the experience and skill to help you keep your child healthy.