Your belly is growing … and so is your anxiety. Around the end of
your second trimester, the realization suddenly hits you: “This
baby will be on the
outside of me soon. And I’m going to have to take care of her!”
Luckily, you’re not in this alone. Your pediatrician is your partner
in keeping your newborn healthy and in monitoring her development and
milestones. That is why finding the right pediatrician for your family
is so important.
Many parent websites and prenatal classes advise “interviewing”
potential pediatricians well in advance of your baby’s due date,
but what do you ask once you’re in the doctor’s office? I
have been “interviewed” by many expectant parents, some of
whom find themselves tongue-tied, and others who have presented terrific
questions that get to the heart of what parents need to know when choosing
The following are some questions that don’t always get asked –
but should – as you search for a partner in your child’s wellness.
What is your availability? What are the office hours? Does the office offer same-day appointments?
When is your physician in the office? It’s important to know whether
your needs align with your pediatrician’s schedule – and whether
you’re comfortable with the rest of the group should your pediatrician
not be available.
How do I reach you? Some pediatric practices are better than others at getting you on the phone
with a registered nurse or a doctor to answer your questions. If you’re
speaking to a medical assistant, you’re speaking to someone who
is not licensed to dispense medical advice.
Keep in mind that your most pressing questions don’t always arise
during office hours.
At our practice, for instance, many of our patients prefer to reach us
via email. Hoag Medical Group’s Patient Portal allows parents to
access their children’s growth chart and vaccine record online and
on a mobile app. It also helps connect parents to their pediatricians
via email and to request prescription refills online. If you have a busy
schedule, it helps to know what kind of remote access your pediatrician’s
How long are office visits? This is a question that doesn’t get asked enough, but one that is
critical for new parents. At our practice, our well-child visits (aka
checkups) take an average of 30 to 40 minutes. Sick kids are seen for
15 to 20 minutes. Understanding how long visits take will allow you to
assess how much time you’ll get to learn about development, nutrition,
safety and sleep and to get your questions answered
Other things to keep in mind when searching for a pediatrician is the location
of the office (I recommend choosing an office close to home), whether
the doctor is in-network for you and whether you like the facilities and
Your belly is growing … and so is your excitement. Armed with the
right questions, you’ll find the provider who will share in the
excitement with you.
board-certified pediatricians at the new Hoag Health Center in Irvine to find the right doctor for your new baby.