Ever since your pregnancy test came out positive (and the three you took after that just to be sure), you’ve had a million thoughts racing through your head and a seemingly never-ending list of to-dos. #1,073 on your agenda? Set up a meet and greet with your future pediatrician. Bring this list of questions with you to get the most out of your ten-minute face-to-face time.
1. Do you take my insurance?
Double check that your doctor’s practice accepts your and also ask if there are any extra charges or fees involved (say, for advice calls after hours or for medication refills). You might want to see what other plans they work with as well, in case your coverage changes down the road.
2. Which hospital are you affiliated with?
Make sure that your insurance covers services there, too. And when it comes to shots and blood work, is there a lab on premises or will you have to go elsewhere (if so, where)?
This is job-interviewing 101 (“tell me about yourself”). Things like an American Board of Pediatrics certification and a genuine passion or interest in children’s medicine are all good signs.
4. Is this a solo or a group practice?
If it’s solo, then ask who covers when the doctor is not available. If it’s a group practice, ask how often you’re likely to meet with other doctors.
5. Do you have any subspecialties?
This could be important if you think your child may have special medical needs.
6. What are your office hours?
If weekend or evening appointments are important to you, now’s the time to find out if they’re an option. But even if your schedule is flexible, definitely ask about what happens if your child is sick outside of regular office hours.
You and your pediatrician don’t need to share the same views on everything, but ideally you’ll find someone whose beliefs about the big parenting stuff (like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, antibiotics and circumcision) align with yours.
8. Does the office respond to emails?
Is there a non-emergency way to get in touch with the doctor? For example, some practices have a daily call-in period when they (or nurses) answer routine questions.
9. Will your first meeting with my baby be at the hospital or at the first checkup?
And if it’s not at the hospital, make sure you know who will be checking on the baby there. While we’re on the topic, does the pediatrician perform circumcisions? (Sometimes this is done by the delivering doctor and sometimes it isn’t.)
You’ll be seeing your pediatrician for more than just regular checkups, so find out what the protocol is for urgent care.
11. When and how should I set up my first appointment after the baby is born?
Trust us—if your kid is born on a weekend, then you’re going to be glad you asked.
12. Lastly, a few questions to ask yourself.
It’s definitely a good idea to quiz your prospective pediatrician about your concerns, but don’t forget to ask yourself some stuff, too. Did you feel comfortable with the pediatrician? Was the waiting room pleasant? Were staff members friendly and helpful? Did the doctor welcome questions? In other words—trust those mama-bear instincts.