Choosing your pediatrician is an important decision – it is one of the biggest choices you will make before your baby is born. In fact, many women begin searching for their pediatrician in the second trimester of pregnancy. Before you start your search, it is essential to understand what this kind of doctor does to help you make the best decision and to know exactly what to expect when your new bundle of joy makes their way into this world.
A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of infants, adolescents and children as old as 21. From the common cold to sports physicals, you can count on your pediatrician for family-centered, comprehensive healthcare for your child from infancy through adolescence. Your pediatrician is the person who will help guide you through your child’s growth and development and will provide comprehensive preventive and medical care.
To take care of children, pediatricians provide well-child checkups – including vaccinations. They also diagnose and treat illnesses, infections and injuries; oversee growth and development; promote healthy lifestyles; and address behavioral issues.
Pediatricians are primed with extensive education that gives them special skills to take care of your child’s healthcare needs. In addition to graduating from medical school, pediatricians complete a three-year residency program in pediatrics and pass an exam administered by the American Board of Pediatrics to become board certified. To stay certified, pediatricians must meet regular continuing education requirements and take recertification exams.
Asking friends, relatives and your prenatal care provider for referrals is a good start when selecting your child’s pediatrician. Choosing a pediatrician may seem like a daunting task, but it is one all parents face. One thing to remember is that while many pediatricians have different approaches and styles, they have one thing in common – they want to help parents raise healthy children.
About the author
Kelly Gorman, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at Freeman Health System. Freeman is proud to offer the largest, most comprehensive group of pediatricians in the region. Our providers, specially trained in children’s healthcare, listen to you and address your questions and concerns. Your child’s health, nutrition and happiness are our top priorities. Learn more at freemanhealth.com/pediatrics.