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Looking for a pediatric specialty clinic? Cook Children's has more than 60 locations across North Texas, because even when your child's diagnosis is complicated, finding the right care should be simple.
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You've made a list of pediatricians you're interested in, now what do you do? How do you decide which doctor is right for you? Start by scheduling prenatal consultations to interview the potential pediatricians. Considering that the doctor you choose will be the first to treat your baby, you'll want to be sure that you're comfortable with the doctor's personality, office staff, location, and environment. A prenatal appointment is an excellent opportunity for parents to ask questions and get acquainted with the office staff.
What is a prenatal consultation?
During the interview, you should find out how the practice works by asking:
Making a question checklist will help you organize your thoughts and be thorough during the interview. Some doctors offer group classes for expectant parents to learn about the practice and discuss newborn care, while others offer one-on-one interviews.
Many insurance companies encourage these prenatal appointments or classes and will cover any cost involved; however, be sure to check with the doctor's office and your health plan first to avoid surprises.
The interview is a great time to observe office procedures. Check out the reception area: how many patients are waiting? More than a handful may mean overbooking or it could mean the doctor is spending extra time with a patient who needs it. Is there a place where sick kids can be separated from those in for a well visit? Is the area clean and child-friendly? Is the staff polite and considerate to patients in the waiting room and to people on the phone?
While you're waiting, talk to other parents to determine whether they're satisfied with the care. Is their child comfortable with the doctor? Do the parents feel confident the doctor is thorough and competent? The overall atmosphere in the waiting area will give you a good idea what the practice is like.
Another important aspect of the interview is getting a feel for the doctor's personality. Does he or she see parents as partners in a child's care? Is he or she patient and willing to explain things carefully? Do you get the impression the doctor would be supportive if you requested a second opinion? Are the doctor's age and gender important issues to you?
Good communication between a doctor and parent is essential to building a good working relationship. Is the doctor is a good listener who seems responsive to your concerns? Are you comfortable asking questions or do you feel intimidated?
You also should be sure that your parenting style matches your doctor's in the important issues. How does the doctor feel about circumcision? Breastfeeding? Alternative or integrative medicines or techniques? Use of antibiotics and other medications? Does the doctor focus on preventive care, including immunizations, child safety, and nutrition?
Philosophical issues might not seem important before the birth but if you consider that this doctor may see your child for years to come, agreement on larger issues becomes more significant.
After you choose a doctor, don't throw out the information you put together on the other finalists. Things can change. For example, if your insurance changes, you may find yourself looking for a new doctor. Or it may just take a while to find a doctor you're really happy with.
Although you may feel overwhelmed with preparing for your baby's arrival, imagine how you'll feel after the baby is born. Choosing the right health care provider will help you feel confident your baby will be well cared for throughout childhood and beyond, and will ease some of the anxiety all new parents experience.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2018 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by Cook Children's, The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.