There’s a lot you have to learn in a few short months if you’re about to be a parent. Your OB/GYN will be there to help you through much of it, but there’s another doctor you should get involved in this process before your baby is born: a pediatrician. A good way to go about doing that is by taking advantage of a prenatal visit.
Start Out on the Right Foot
You’re about to be spending way more time with a pediatrician than you ever thought you would. After your baby is born, a series of checkups will be needed, earaches investigated, teething questions answered and probably more than one frantic call placed to ask, “is this normal?!” especially if this is your first baby. What you want more than anything else during these times is a pediatrician you click with – one you trust. A prenatal visit, which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends, usually takes place during the third trimester of your pregnancy. Most clinics – Kelsey-Seybold Clinic included – offer a prenatal visit. In fact, Kelsey offers a free Get-Acquainted appointment because our pediatricians understand the importance of this visit.
Things You’ll Talk About
First and foremost, you’ll get to talk to your child’s pediatrician at your prenatal visit and really get to know his or her philosophy of care. It’s a great opportunity for you to ask questions or voice concerns you may have. There’s really no limit to what you can discuss with your doctor at this appointment. Many parents discuss the stress and their fears of having children. Safety is another popular topic of discussion: what kind of crib is safe, what car seats are recommended, whether or not a particular stroller is suitable, and whether crib bumpers are a good or bad idea – all the recommendations you might have heard conflicting information on are good questions to bring in.
Don’t be a Statistic
Even though the AAP estimates three-quarters of all pediatricians offer prenatal visits, studies show only 5 to 39 percent of first-time parents take advantage of this by attending one. Don’t be part of that number. In addition to asking questions you might have about safety concerns, how to deal with feeding time, what you should have in your hospital go bag and questions about breastfeeding, it’s also a good time to ask about things like cord blood donation, immunizations for your family, and how to recognize signs of post-partum depression.
There is an awful lot to having a baby – especially if you’re a first-time parent. Take the opportunity to meet your pediatrician, make sure he or she is the right doctor for you and your baby, and ask all the questions you might have been storing up for the past six months. There’s no better time than now. Things move really quickly after that trip to the hospital, and you don’t want to be in a position to not have answers for some of those big questions when you need them.
Dr. Wright is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Summer Creek Clinic in Humble. Child obesity, newborn care, and ADHD are among her top clinical interests. Being around kids makes every day at work fun for her.