Your Pregnancy After 35 - Pregnancy Encounters of the Usual Kind (part 3) - Choosing Your Baby’s Healthcare Provider

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7. Choosing Your Baby’s Healthcare Provider

Choosing a healthcare provider for your baby is as important as choosing one for your pregnancy or the hospital where you will give birth. It’s best to select someone and to visit this person before baby is born. Ask your pregnancy healthcare provider, your family practitioner, friends, co-workers and family members for names of people they know and trust. Or contact your local medical society and ask for a reference. Plan to visit this healthcare provider about 3 or 4 weeks before your due date. If the baby comes early, you’ll be prepared.

The first visit is important, and your partner should attend with you. This is the ideal time for the two of you to discuss any concerns or questions about the care of your baby. The healthcare provider may offer helpful suggestions.

I need a healthcare provider for my expected baby. How do I find one?

It’s helpful to decide on someone to care for baby before your baby is born. Ask for suggestions from friends, your pregnancy healthcare provider or family members. Call labor-and-delivery at the hospital where you will deliver, and ask the nurses to recommend someone.

At the meeting, you can discuss the healthcare provider’s philosophy, learn his or her schedule and on-call policy, and clarify what you can anticipate from this person and the staff. When your baby is born, the healthcare provider will be notified so he or she can come to the hospital and check the baby. Selecting a person to care for baby before birth helps ensure baby will see the same healthcare provider for follow-up visits at the hospital and the office.

If you belong to an HMO, and there are a group of healthcare providers in pediatrics, arrange a meeting with one of them. If you have a conflict or don’t see eye to eye with this person on important matters, you may be able to choose someone else. Ask your patient advocate for information and advice.

8. Questions to Ask a Pediatrician or Healthcare Provider

The questions below may help you create a useful dialogue with your pediatrician or healthcare provider. You may also have other questions to add to the list.

What are your qualifications and training?

Are you board certified? If not, will you be soon (are you “board eligible”)?

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?

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?

Are you interested in preventive, developmental and behavioral issues?

How does the practice operate?

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

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?

9. 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 healthcare provider’s philosophies and attitudes acceptable to us, such as use of antibiotics and other medications, child-rearing practices or related religious beliefs?

Did the healthcare provider listen to us?

Did he or she seem genuinely interested in our concerns?

Do we feel comfortable with this person?

Is the office comfortable, clean and bright?

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

10. The Cost of Having a Baby

It costs a lot of money to have a baby, no matter where you live in the United States. Costs vary depending on how long you stay in the hospital, what type of anesthesia you have and whether you or your baby have complications.

At your first prenatal visit, ask about the fees for prenatal care, including delivery. Nearly every medical office employs someone who deals with insurance questions; he or she may know about things you haven’t considered. Often this insurance person knows the answers to these questions or can help you get answers. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask questions about the financial side of your pregnancy. Every healthcare provider expects it.

You may also need to check with the hospital and your insurance company. When you communicate with an insurance company, have a list of questions ready. Write down the answers so you can refer to them later, especially if you need to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

11. Costs in Canada

The Canadian healthcare system is very different from the healthcare system in the United States. Canadians pay a healthcare premium on a monthly basis, and pregnancy costs vary depending on the province you live in. The healthcare provider who delivers your baby is paid by the government, not you.

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