The task of to-dos for welcoming a new baby can feel endless for new and experienced parents alike. As you are preparing a nursery and adding items to your baby registry, consider what’s most important to you in choosing your child’s pediatrician as well. We asked Dr. Kyle Woodson with SSM Health Medical Group for tips on interviewing potential pediatricians before baby arrives.
Do I need to choose a pediatrician before my baby is born?
While you don’t have to have a pediatrician selected before your baby is born, making this decision ahead of time can help greatly in mitigating the stresses that come with having a new child. Questions often come up quickly, and having to search for the answer on the internet will only increase your stress. Having a pediatrician chosen prior to your new baby’s arrival will allow you to access quick, helpful and educated answers to your parenting and child’s health questions as well as have someone who will care for your child at a moment’s notice.
What questions should I ask in interviewing potential pediatricians?
Many new parents might not know they are allowed to meet with potential pediatricians prior to having a child, and that it is OK to meet with multiple doctors to find the best fit. Choosing a pediatrician is a huge job for parents to get filled. It is important to be on the same page as your pediatrician on topics that are important to you. At SSM, our pediatricians love the opportunity to meet with parents and get to know them prior to their child being born. We know not every parent has the same view on every subject, so it is OK to ask hard or difficult questions. Parenting is hard, stressful and amazing all at the same time. Pediatricians are here to try to help with the tough parts so you can focus on the amazing parts.
Make a list of questions prior to meeting potential pediatricians for your child, and consider these topics to get you started:
- What are their office hours and will those work for you?
- Are they in a group or solo practice? How often will you see other providers at appointments?
- Do they have an after-hours number you can call? Find out what to do in an emergency, as well as what constitutes an emergency.
- Do they have same-day appointments available?
- How long are appointments? What is their schedule for well checks?
- Consider any additional questions that are personal to you. Do you want to know more about their thoughts on and support provided for breastfeeding, baby’s sleep or vaccinations?
- You can ask about their family and children as well, in addition to professional experience.
What do I do if I have questions for my pediatrician after hours?
Most pediatricians will provide after-hours support. Making sure with your doctor that there is a plan for after-hours calls is important. You will typically speak with a nurse who will pass you on to the doctor if there are further concerns the nurse could not answer.
Kyle Woodson, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician serving north Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. He graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Arkansas before pursuing medical school at the same university. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center before going into practice. In addition to giving numerous academic presentations on a variety of medical topics, he has also donated his skills to extensive volunteer and mission work. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. When not caring for patients, he can be found enjoying traveling, water skiing, hiking and all kinds of sports.