Congratulations!  You're Expecting...

       Congratulations!  

       You're Expecting.

From the day you learn you are pregnant, you begin to make lifelong decisions for your child. 
You want to give your newborn the healthiest possible start. 
 
A healthy pregnancy starts with great prenatal care. Find an ob-gyn or midwife you feel comfortable with and  who can offer you the best pregnancy care for your physical and emotional health. 
 
As you begin preparing for your baby's arrival, be sure to include finding the right pediatrician.
 
When Should I Start Looking for a Pediatrician?
 
It is a good idea to start looking for a pediatrician 3 months before your baby is due. Ask for recommendations from relatives, friends, neighbors, coworkers, your Obgyn or midwife. Check your insurance company's website to see which of these pediatricians are in your plan.
 
Once you have a list of pediatricians covered by your insurance company and in close proximity to your home, you can begin reviewing their websites. In most cases you will find the pediatricians credentials, philosophy as well as their mission statement. You will learn about the pediatricians services, awards and recognitions, honors, and certifications.  Reviewing patient testimonials will also give you additional insight.
 
Once you have narrowed down a few doctors,  you can begin setting up interviews. Most pediatricians will schedule about 10 minutes for a meet and greet. Since your time is limited,  be sure to organize your thoughts and concerns by having the right questions ready to go. Consider your family’s needs, priorities and preferences.
 
Interviewing Pediatricians. 
 
What Should I Ask?
 
Most pediatricians' offices set aside times for expectant parents to visit. Calling in advance to set up an appointment  is a great idea. During your "meet and greet," you can tour the office and talk with a doctor or nurse.
Some doctors offer group classes for expectant parents to learn about the practice and discuss newborn care. Others offer one-on-one interviews. Many insurance companies encourage these prenatal appointments or classes and will cover their cost. 
 
Here are some things to consider as you decide if the practice is right for your family. 
 
•What are the office hours? Make sure the schedule works for you. 
•Does the doctor work alone, or as part of a group? If it's a solo practice, how will your child get care when your doctor is not available? If it's a group practice, who will see your child if your doctor is not available?
•Is the doctor affiliated with a pediatric hospital if there's one in your area?
•How does the office handle phone calls?
◦During office hours — Can you call in with questions for your doctor at fixed times? Many pediatric practices have a nurse on hand to answer questions.
◦After hours — If you leave a message with the answering service, how quickly will you get a call back, either from a doctor or a nurse? Does the practice offer telemedicine where you can video visit with a pediatrician or nurse?
•Can you email your doctor? Does the practice use electronic medical records to make it easier to share your child's health information? Does the practice let you view your child's test results and get health information online?
•If your child has an emergency, will the doctor handle it, or will your child be referred to an emergency room or urgent care center?
•How much do services cost? Must you pay in full at the time of the visit, or can you pay over time?
•If other care is needed, how does the practice decide whether to refer your child to a specialist?
•What are the office's vaccination policies? Are all patients required to be vaccinated on the immunization schedule of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?
•Will your doctor come to the hospital when you deliver to examine your newborn?
 
Your visit is a great time to see how the office runs. Is the waiting area clean and child-friendly?  Is the staff polite and helpful to patients in the waiting room and to people on the phone?
 
While you're waiting, talk to the other parents. Ask them what they like best about the practice and why they feel good about the care the doctor provides.
 
Is This Doctor a Good Fit for Me?
 
After you have had a chance to talk with the doctor and other members of the care team, do you feel you will work well together? Is the doctor willing to explain things carefully? Does the doctor seem to be a good listener? Will you be comfortable asking questions? Do you think the doctor would mind if you wanted to get a second opinion?
Do you and your doctor share beliefs about issues that are important to you? 
 
Great job, you have a pediatrician! 
Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy knowing you have taken all the right steps for yourself, your family and your newborn. 
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Atousa and the Staff at Healthy Kids Care at Sunrise. 

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