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INFANCY: Prenatal Visit

Choosing a Pediatric Health Care Provider Before Your Baby is Born

Pregnant woman showing ultrasound imageAs you prepare for the birth of your baby, you’ll have many questions and decisions to make. Selecting and getting to know your health care provider before your baby comes is a good way to begin a long-term relationship. You’ll want someone who will work with you as your baby grows.

Schedule a prenatal appointment with potential health care providers. This is a good way to see whether your ideas about parenting mesh with those of the health care provider. It is okay to “shop” for a person whose style fits yours!

Bring up important issues to be sure you agree on the things that are important to you in raising your baby. Both parents should use the time to get to know the viewpoints and experience of the health caregiver. Share things about your family that will be helpful for that person to know when caring for your baby.

Find out whether your healthcare provider will see your newborn in the hospital. Ask about office hours including nights and weekends, how to reach the doctor for urgent problems, and how soon they expect to see you and the
baby in their office.

What's Important for this Visit

A chance to get to know each other—be sure to bring your questions and be prepared to discuss:

  • Family resources: Any questions or needs you have for housing, heat, health coverage, enough funds for food, child care, and diapers; the amount of help you will have when you go home from the hospital, especially if you have other children
  • Parental well-being: Your health (oral health; use of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes; etc.); emotional or physical problems you may have; support groups, resources
  • Newborn care: Childbirth plans; concerns you have; actively involving fathers
  • Breastfeeding/bottle-feeding decision: Plans for feeding the baby and where to get help with breastfeeding Safety: Seat belts and having an infant car seat when leaving the hospital; general baby-proofing concerning such risks as guns, burns, falls, and pets