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Pregnant woman meeting with a pediatrician

The Importance of a Prenatal Visit with Your Pediatrician

By Dr. Rosemary Ashman, Partners in Pediatric Care

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises all parents-to-be to visit a pediatrician before the birth of their baby. This recommendation comes in an updated clinical report, “The Prenatal Visit,” published this month in the journal Pediatrics.

The prenatal visit is an important first step in finding and establishing a relationship with your baby’s pediatrician. In addition to answering urgent questions you may have about bringing home a new baby, a pediatrician can cover important topics like safe sleep practices, car seat safety, and immunizations family members need to protect your newborn. It’s also important to discuss ways to cope with the stress of a new baby and recognize signs of added challenges like postpartum depression.

This visit also gives you a unique opportunity to talk with a pediatrician alone, before the fatigue of new parenthood sets in, and without the distraction of your precious newborn squirming, crying, or in need of feeding or a diaper change. This can be especially helpful if you are a first-time parent, facing a high-risk pregnancy, experiencing complications, expecting more than one child, or in the process of adopting a child. Other family members who will play an important role in your baby’s life are also encouraged to attend this visit and ask their own questions.

Important goals and topics to cover during your prenatal visit:

  • Find out what training the provider has. Is he or she a board-certified pediatrician?
  • Make sure the pediatrician’s office is conveniently located near your home or work and the hours are suitable for your schedule.
  • Ask how same-day visits for injuries or illnesses are handled. Are you able to make an appointment on short notice if your baby is sick? What do you do when the office is closed?
  • Make sure the pediatrician is accepting new patients and will take your insurance.
  • Discuss preventative care for your newborn, including the schedule of newborn well visits, immunizations, newborn screenings, and infant feeding choices.
  • Share your family medical and pregnancy history, including any known hereditary or genetic conditions. Also discuss any important cultural, religious, or parenting beliefs that may affect the way you want your child cared for.
  • If your child ever develops a condition that requires the care of specialists, find out if the pediatrician will coordinate care among all the doctors providing treatment.
  • Most importantly, make sure you are comfortable with the doctor’s style and philosophy of care. Your pediatrician will be your partner and advisor in the care of your new baby. You should feel that you can ask anything and your concerns will be handled with respect and compassion.

Prenatal visits are available with any of the pediatricians in a CHKD Medical Group practice. Click here to find a CHKD pediatrician near you.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.