How to Find A Good Pediatrician
By Steven P. Shelov, M.D., M.S.
During the last trimester of pregnancy, many parents-to-be start
thinking about choosing a pediatrician for their baby. The idea of
finding the right doctor -- one who possesses all of the qualities and
necessary qualifications to help you care for your child -- can seem
like a daunting task. But before you get overwhelmed, remember that
pediatricians are committed to helping parents raise healthy children
with the greatest possible ease, comfort, pleasure and success.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of
board-certified pediatricians, prides itself in having superb
children's doctors as its members. A pediatrician who is certified by
the American Board of Pediatrics will have will have graduated from
medical school after four years, received three years of training in
pediatrics as a pediatric resident, and passed the American Board of
Pediatrics written examination.
One of the best people to ask
for a pediatrician referral is your obstetrician. During and following
a delivery, obstetricians and pediatricians must interact to oversee
the care of both the mother and baby. Other moms in your neighborhood
can also be a good source for referrals since they can relate their
Because you're looking for a doctor
whose style and availability matches your own expectations, you should
try and meet with various candidates for a brief informational
interview. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- What hospital are you affiliated with? It's important that you feel
comfortable with this hospital in case your child must go there to be
treated for an illness or in an emergency situation.
- What are the costs of care? Find out which services are covered by insurance which ones aren't.
- How available are you by phone? The pediatrician you choose
should be easy to reach and provide covering doctors when she can't be
- What are routine child-care checks and when are they
scheduled? The AAP recommends checkups by one month, and at two, four,
six, nine, twelve, fifteen and twenty-four months.
addition to the above questions, interviewing one or more pediatricians
gives you the opportunity to meet the staff, check out the offices, and
get a sense of a pediatrician's personality and style -- all important
factors to consider before selecting a doctor that will care for your