Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 36 (part 2) - How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

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6. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

Choosing Your Baby’s Doctor

It’s time to choose a doctor for your baby. You might choose a pediatrician—a doctor who specializes in treating children. Or you might choose a family practitioner. If the doctor you are seeing during pregnancy is a family practitioner, and you want him or her to care for your baby, you probably don’t need to consider this at all.

Tip for Week 36

To find a pediatrician for baby, ask for referrals. Your pregnancy doctor might be able to give you one. Or ask family, friends or people in your childbirth-education classes for names of doctors they like.

It’s good to meet the person who will care for baby before the birth—many pediatricians welcome it. It gives you an opportunity to discuss important matters with this new doctor.

The first visit is important, so ask your partner to go with you. It’s a good time for the two of you to discuss any concerns or questions about the care of your baby and to receive helpful suggestions. You can also discuss the doctor’s philosophy and learn his or her schedule and “on-call” coverage.

When baby is born, the pediatrician will come to the hospital to check him or her. Selecting a pediatrician before the birth ensures your baby will see the same doctor for follow-up visits at the hospital and at the doctor’s office.

If you belong to an HMO, and there are a group of pediatricians, arrange a meeting with one physician. If you have a conflict or don’t see eye to eye with this person, you may be able to choose another doctor. Ask your patient advocate for information and advice.

Questions to Ask a Pediatrician. The questions below may help you when you talk with your pediatrician. You will probably also have other questions.

• What are your qualifications and training?

• Are you board certified? If not, will you be soon?

• What hospital(s) are you affiliated with?

• Do you have privileges at the hospital where I will deliver?

• Will you do the newborn exam?

• If I have a boy, will you perform the circumcision (if we want to have it done)?

• What is your availability for regular office visits and emergencies?

• How long is a typical office visit?

• Are your office hours compatible with our work schedules?

• Can an acutely ill child be seen the same day?

• How can we reach you in case of an emergency or after office hours?

• Who responds if you are not available?

• Do you return phone calls the same day?

• Do you have advance-practice nurses or physician assistants in your office?

• Can we contact you by email if we have routine questions? How soon do you respond?

• What sort of advice do you give parents who both work outside the home?

• Are you interested in preventive, developmental and behavioral issues?

• Do you provide written instructions for well-baby and sick-baby care?

• Do you support women in their efforts to breastfeed?

• What are your fees?

• Do your fees comply with our insurance?

• What is the nearest (to our home) emergency room or urgent-care center you would send us to?

Analyzing Your Visit. Some issues can be resolved only by analyzing your feelings after your visit. Below are some things you and your partner might want to discuss after your visit.

• Are the doctor’s philosophies and attitudes acceptable to us, such as use of antibiotics and other medications, child-rearing practices or related religious beliefs?

• Did the doctor listen to us?

• Did he or she seem genuinely interested in our concerns?

• Is the office comfortable, clean and bright?

• Did the office staff seem cordial, open and easy to talk to?

By choosing someone to care for your baby before it’s born, you have a chance to take part in deciding who will have that important task. If you don’t, the healthcare provider who delivers your baby or hospital personnel will select someone. Another good reason for choosing someone ahead of time is if your baby has complications, you’ll at least have met the person who will be treating him or her.

7. Your Nutrition

You may be having a harder time with your food plan than you had earlier in pregnancy. You may be bored with the food you’ve been eating. Baby is getting bigger, and you don’t seem to have much room for food. Heartburn or indigestion may be more challenging now.

Don’t give up on good nutrition! Continue to pay attention to what you eat. Continue to give your baby the best nutrition you can before its birth.

Every day, try to eat one serving of a dark-green leafy vegetable, a serving of food or juice rich in vitamin C, and one serving of a food rich in vitamin A. Many yellow foods, such as yams, carrots and cantaloupes, are good sources of vitamin A. Remember to keep up your fluid intake.

Eat high-fiber foods for good nutrition and to help with constipation. High-fiber foods can also deal with heartburn. And keep the peel on your potatoes! They add fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 to your diet. You can even mash cooked potatoes that still have the peel—they’re very tasty.

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