Choosing a Baby Doctor: Ten Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician

6. What is the scheduled length of your appointments? The closer her appointments are (10 to 15 minutes apart, rather than 20 or 30 minutes, for instance), the more likely it is you'll do some waiting, as well as be rushed through your appointment when you do see your health care provider.

7. How often do you want to see the baby in the first year? Why? Pediatricians more than family practitioners will schedule several "well-child" visits for your child. Pediatricians believe this to be a form of preventive care and an opportunity for parent education. Feel free to discuss in advance with your doctor or nurse the purpose of these "well-child" visits, so that you can decide what's appropriate for your child's care. We all need encouragement as parents, but you decide if it's always worth an office-visit fee to find out how much your baby, especially if it's not your first child, weighs and the fact that your doctor thinks your baby is doing well.

8. Do you have a "sick-child" waiting room? Some doctors try to avoid mixing the well children and the sick children in the same reception area. Young children are very susceptible to contagious diseases.

9. If you share a practice, will I always see you? Not likely. If you are scheduling an exam well in advance, it's easy to ask for a day that your doctor will be in the office. However, if you have a sick child, you'll get whomever is in the office or on call. If it's important to you, arrange to meet all the doctors who might cover for your baby's doctor in an emergency, or when you're in the hospital.

10. Do you have evening or Saturday hours? Although daytime hours are still the rule, a growing number of doctors are accommodating working parents.

Excerpt from A Good Birth, A Safe Birth
Copyright © 1992 by The Harvard Common Press. This excerpt is reprinted with permission and is copyright protected under international copyright conventions. This excerpt may not be reproduced in any manner, including electronic, without prior written permission from the publisher.

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