As an expecting mom, you have a long list of to-dos – including finding a doctor to care for your new baby. The doctor you choose will be a major figure in your baby’s life – and yours – for years to come. So trust and compatibility are essential.
Pediatrician Lisa Cinar, MD, of the Fairview Clinic in Princeton has some advice on how and when to find the right doctor for your baby.
There’s no right or wrong time to start looking for a doctor; some future parents choose their baby’s doctor before they’re even pregnant!
But for normal, healthy pregnancies, my advice is to start asking around for doctor recommendations in your second trimester, begin meeting with doctors in your third trimester, and make your final decision at least one or two months before your due date.
If you know that your baby is going to have special needs or may be at risk for premature birth, I recommend moving that timeline up and having a doctor picked out early in your third trimester.
In my opinion the best place to start the search for your baby’s doctor is by asking other parents in your social circle – friends, family, coworkers, and others you trust. They’ll be able to share firsthand experience with their baby’s doctor and give you an honest account of a doctor’s strengths and style.Once you’ve gotten a list of names, do some research on your own. Go to your insurance plan's website or call to find out whether those doctors are in network. Then look online to get the basic details about the clinic where each doctor practices.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to your top candidates, call the clinics again to schedule an introductory appointment with each doctor. Take note during the call of how easy or difficult it is to schedule an appointment, whether the staff were friendly and helpful, and how far out the doctor is booked.
During the visit, the doctor will ask you about your personal health, how the pregnancy has been going, and family health history. They'll also ask about your plan for after the baby comes: who will be at home, how much time you’ll be taking off, if you’ll be using day care, what your feeding plan is, etc.You should come prepared with questions as well.
While convenience should certainly be considered, there’s no substitute for trust. Do your research, weigh the options, and go into your decision with eyes wide open. But also listen to your gut. After all, those parental instincts are already kicking in.