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How to Find A Good Pediatrician

How to Find A Good Pediatrician


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 personal experiences.

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 contacted.

  • 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.
In 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 child.

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About The Author

Steven P. Shelov, M.D., M.S. is Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Maimonides Medical Center; and Professor of Pediatrics at S.U.N.Y. Health Science Center, Brooklyn, New York.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.


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