While you may already have chosen names for the new addition, you'll need to choose one more - the name of a doctor for your baby. The following are some tips to help you make your decision. To be safe, plan to choose your baby's doctor at least four to six weeks before your due date.
Where to Start
Do you look for a family practitioner, a pediatrician, or a pediatric and internal medicine physician (with completed residencies in both specialties)? Each one can provide all the care your baby needs. If you'd like, plan to meet with more than one type of physician before making your decision.
Make a List
If you're looking for a St. Joseph Mercy doctor you can search online using the find a physician directory. Or you can call St. Joseph Mercy HealthLine at 734-712-5400 or 800-231-2211. The referral coordinator can also refer you to doctors at St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital in Saline and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell. The representative can give you information on physicians who are accepting new patients. You can find out such information as the doctor's gender, medical training and credentials, phone number, office location(s), office hours and insurance plans he or she accepts. Also, check with your obstetrician or other parents for their recommendations.
Once you have a few names, contact the doctors' offices and ask to meet with each doctor for more discussion. Ask the doctor if there will be a charge for the visit. Some doctors have scheduled orientation sessions for groups of expectant parents like yourself.
Questions for the doctor
Don't be afraid to ask the doctor lots of questions when you come for your visit. Because you'll trust the doctor with your child's health for many years, he or she needs to be someone you feel comfortable with. Does the doctor take the time to answer all your questions thoroughly? The office visit also gives you a chance to survey the waiting room (Is it warm and inviting to a child? Is there a children's play area?) and the treatment and exam rooms.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Do you accept my insurance?
- How often will you come to examine my baby while he/she is in the hospital?
- Do you perform circumcisions on your own patients? If so, do you use an anesthetic?
- How do you handle separation of well children and sick children in the office? Do you schedule well-child visits at times when you wouldn't normally see sick children?
- What are your views on breast vs. bottle feeding?
- How can you be reached after regular office hours, evenings or on weekends?
- Will the baby see a doctor for each office visit? Do you have a nurse practitioner or physician assistant? What are their roles in the office? In the hospital?
- Do you have any partners in your practice who might also be seeing the baby?
- If my child requires hospitalization, where would you admit him/her?