It may not be the best idea to wait until you leave the hospital with your baby in your arms to start thinking about a pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that expectant mothers and their families schedule a pediatrician visit before the baby is born. This is an opportunity to address common concerns and questions, such as a concern about immunizations or your own health.
Benefits of visiting with a pediatrician before giving birth
There are many benefits to setting up a pediatrician visit before your baby’s due date. You can concentrate on talking with the doctor about concerns and questions without having to watch your baby at the same time. This type of doctor visit allows the pediatrician to form a picture of the whole family as well. They will ask about medical histories, lifestyles, mental health, high-risk complications, and current medical conditions.
The AAP says that scheduling a prenatal pediatrician visit is especially helpful to first-time parents, new patients, and single parents. Families who have experienced a perinatal death and those who have high-risk pregnancies, multiple gestations, or pregnancy complications can also benefit from early pediatrician visits. Families who are adopting a child may also benefit from this type of doctor visit.
The expectation is that this visit will lay the foundation for a long relationship between your family and the pediatrician. It helps establish trust and address issues that could arise in the future. A pediatrician can also become a needed part of a support network for you and your family.
Immunizations are a common concern for expecting mothers, so they should be a subject that you discuss with a pediatrician. Visiting the doctor early gives you time to ask questions and think about the immunizations your child may need. There is much research about vaccines and the protection they offer. All pediatricians follow a standard schedule for immunizations. This was designed to provide the best and safest vaccines at the right time for the most protection.
Immunizations are designed to be spaced out on a specific schedule to make the most of the immunologic response in your child. The guidelines for delivering these vaccines are based on intense study and the best medical research and opinions.
Newborn children only receive one vaccine, so do not get overwhelmed thinking about what he or she will need. Hepatitis B is the only one delivered at the newborn stage. It is often given to your baby before they go home from the hospital or it will be given by your pediatrician soon after birth. Your child will be two months of age before another vaccine is needed.
You and others who will be caring for your baby will need to make sure that you all are up to date on your own vaccines. A pediatrician can help with this step. Caregivers and pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) and the influenza vaccine (flu).
Preparing for a pediatrician visit
Come to your pediatrician visit ready with questions about any concerns you have. The doctor will gather information about your health history, past pregnancies, your plans for delivery, and how prepared you are to take care of a baby. They may also ask about feeding plans, your support system, how you feel about parenthood, childcare and work schedules, mental health, and lifestyle risk factors.
An issue that has received attention in recent years is the experience that some new mothers have with postpartum mental health complications. A prenatal visit with the pediatrician can give you the opportunity to plan ahead for dealing with this condition if it should trouble you. Being prepared helps you identify your needs and get help from your own doctor or mental health professional when your baby arrives.
Looking for a pediatrician in Amarillo, Texas
Whether it is the issue of vaccines, wellness care, or postpartum depression, a visit to a pediatrician before you give birth is a good choice. Preparing yourself for your new baby is a great way to give both of you a happy start in your new life.
Dr. John M. Young and his team are committed to providing the best clinical experience for you and your child. Contact Us by email or call our office at (806) 354-0404 ext. 3330 to find out more about vaccinations, prenatal and postpartum care, and to schedule an appointment. You can also visit us in person at 1500 S. Coulter St. Suite #3 in Amarillo, Texas to learn more about our Services, including recommended and required vaccines.