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Choose Your Pediatrician Before Giving Birth

When you are pregnant, your “to-do” checklist can seem endless. But there is one item that should jump to the top of that list: choosing a pediatrician. Your child’s doctor can help ease your concerns both before and after you give birth, and will be a mainstay in your lives for years to come.

“You want to make sure your pediatrician is a good fit for your family,” says Debra Robertson, MD, pediatrician at Saint Francis Medical Center.

“That is why I offer free prenatal visits to expecting parents to give them an opportunity to meet me and my staff.”

The visits, scheduled six to eight weeks before delivery, give new parents an opportunity to ask questions about what will happen after their child is born. They can learn about:

  • Breast-feeding or bottle-feeding: Robertson provides information on breast-feeding support and offers samples of different kinds of formula for parents who want to bottle-feed.
  • Circumcision: Parents expecting boys can choose to have their baby circumcised at the Medical Center.
  • Immunizations: Robertson’s office sends home a packet of information that includes details about each type of immunization needed for infants.

“It is helpful to have both the mother and father present at the prenatal visit so I can get to know both of them,” says Robertson. “They can see firsthand where they will be coming for care and have an opportunity to meet the staff. This helps them feel more comfortable when they have a newborn.”

Robertson cares for all his new young patients while they are in the hospital, checking on them daily until they are discharged. Nurses at the Medical Center schedule newborns for an appointment at his office two or three days after discharge. If there are no problems, infants return again in two weeks, two months and four months.

“I have found that new parents who schedule a prenatal visit are much more comfortable coming back to our office after their baby is born,” Robertson says. “They have already taken care of all their paperwork and can concentrate on helping their baby thrive.”

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