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Picking a Pediatrician: Where to start and what to ask

Being pregnant can be such an exciting time. There’s baby clothes to pick out, potential baby names to gush over, and lots of decisions to make, including who your child’s pediatrician will be.

But where do you start? And how do you know if a pediatrician is the right fit for your family? Pediatrician Anita Geisler, MD, offers up her top 10 questions to ask during a “Meet and Greet” with a potential pediatrician.

Expecting parents should start looking for a pediatrician at least 3 months before their due date, or sooner if there is a chance of preterm labor. Asking friends and family for recommendations is a great place to start, and don’t be shy about reaching out to local parenting groups on Facebook for their insights. Other points to consider when choosing a pediatrician is whether they accept your insurance, and logistics like the distance between your home and their clinic.

Once you’ve picked a pediatrician candidate, you’ll want to schedule a “Meet and Greet” with them.

If you’re feeling nervous or shy, or just don’t know what to ask, take a list of questions with you. Not sure what to ask about? Dr. Geisler has got you covered:

What To Ask A Potential Pediatrician:

  • What are your office hours/call coverage? How can I reach a doctor or nurse after hours? 
  • Do you offer after-hours visits? 
  • How much time will my child see you and how much of the time will they be seeing an advanced practice clinician (PA/NP)? 
  • What is your philosophy on raising children? 
  • If nursing: Does the clinic have a lactation specialist? 
  • If vaccinating: What is your clinic’s immunization schedule? What are your beliefs in vaccinating children?
  • If not vaccinating: Do you accept patients who do not follow the recommended immunization schedule? 
  • What essentials are needed at home before my baby comes home?
  • If having a boy: What are the current recommendations on circumcision?
  • Do you see my newborn in the hospital or not until the first office visit? 

Dr. Geisler advises: “Please do ask what is on your mind, there is never a question too silly. It is likely to be on other moms’ minds and has probably been asked before!” 

Anita Geisler, MD, specializes in pediatrics and sees patients at Oregon Medical Group’s Crescent Medical Clinic. Dr. Geisler currently serves as the President of Parenting Now’s Board of Directors.

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