The One Thing You Didn’t Know Your Unborn Baby Already Needed

New flash: Your baby needs a pediatrician while they’re still in the womb. Yes, we know, you spend an impossible amount of time being cared for by your OB. You’re both in very good hands. But for real, you must select a doctor for your baby-to-be before they are born.


The doctor you choose will establish your baby as a patient and get everything set up for proper care upon arrival. This needs to happen before birth because your child’s pediatrician (or someone from their pediatric group) will come to visit your little bean in the hospital, sometimes just a few hours after they’re born. (Often, pediatricians will work in groups for greater schedule flexibility. You can schedule visits any number of doctors in that practice, and choose one as your preferred provider.)

So the pediatrician will need your due date up front, to be ready when that big moment arrives. You provide their contact information to your OB, and the OB makes sure the hospital gives them a ring when it’s go time.


How do you choose a baby doctor? Get some recommendations from recent mom friends. I say “recent” because things can change quickly from office to office, so talk to a mom who has just made those frequent “kid under 1” visits. By this I mean – surprise! – you’ll be spending a lot of time there, in the first year especially. There’s the hospital visit, then a one-month, two-month, four-month, six-month, nine-month and one year visit. Nevermind sick visits. Phew!

Once you’ve found a couple of candidates, schedule a visit. Most pediatricians host prenatal consultations and tours. Ask questions and really get a feel for the place. You’re going to have a *lot* of questions in those first few months of life, so it’s important to feel comfortable doing so.

Here’s another hot tip: call the office prior to registering your child as a future patient. Call with a question about the prenatal visits, or anything you can think of, even if it’s, “Sorry, wrong number!” The purpose of calling ahead is to assess the staff’s demeanor and professionalism. Ideally, your child’s pediatrician and their staff should be kind, gentle, and helpful. You really can’t settle for less when it comes to your child’s health.

Consider this: you haven’t slept a wink, your kid has a 103 temp and is in seemingly agonizing pain, and you need to see the doctor, like, yesterday. You call as soon as the office opens, it rings, and… a grouchy troll of a receptionist hits you with her nasty attitude right off the bat. Sound unpleasant? It sure would be, so make sure the staff is courteous…you’re gonna need it, sooner or later.

Here are some other key considerations:

  • Do you feel comfortable there?
  • Are the doctors board certified?
  • At which hospitals are they on staff (and does it include the one where you’ll be delivering)?
  • Is the office clean and orderly?
  • Do they have extended office hours (evenings, weekends)?
  • Are they conveniently located in proximity to your home? It shouldn’t be an added hassle just to get there. Some offices even have multiple locations.
  • What are their policies on vaccinations? Are they in line with your own?

Just what you wanted, more boxes to check off your pregnancy to-do list. But this one’s a really important and long-term decision, so take note!

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