Woman with a pediatrician and her baby.

8 Tips for Finding a Pediatrician Before Delivery

Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll schedule prenatal check-ups and doctor’s visits with your obstetrician or gynecologist. These help you track your pregnancy and ensure that your baby is progressing through a healthy development. Depending on how you want to deliver, you’ll need to tour hospitals and create a birth plan specific to your wishes. While you’re likely going to develop a close bond with your doctor, you’ll need to find someone who’s specifically trained to take care of your baby after they’ve arrived. Pediatricians undergo specialized training to take care of newborns and babies up until adulthood. Since you’ll be interacting with your pediatrician often, it’s important that you find someone that you like and trust for your child’s care. To make this process easier, it’s recommended that expecting mothers begin looking for a pediatrician early. In preparation for your big day, here are eight tips for finding a pediatrician before delivery.

Key Factors to Consider When Looking for a Pediatrician

Pediatricians help new parents minimize anxiety and provide reassurance that things are going well, even if you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Finding a good pediatrician will be just as good for new parents as it will be for your baby, so don’t rush the process and never settle for someone you don’t feel 100% confident about. Additionally, make sure that you consider a few factors when looking for a pediatrician. These include proximity, availability, cost, and personal characteristics.


During the first year of your baby’s life, you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your pediatrician’s office. Make sure that you choose someone who is in proximity to your home. This will make your life easier once your baby comes and helps solidify your peace of mind in case of emergencies.


Consider the availability of prospective pediatricians. If they’re only open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and both you and your partner work, it might not be a feasible match. Look for pediatricians that are available when you need them. It’s also important to consider scheduling availability. Will the pediatrician be booked for months in advance or are you able to make an appointment day-of in case of emergencies? This can be a dealbreaker for many new parents, especially if it becomes an issue down the line.


Before visiting any pediatrician, check to see whether they’re in your network or not. It can be very difficult to find someone you like only to realize that they’re out of network. If you find yourself in this situation, but don’t want to work with another pediatrician, consider how much the out-of-pocket expenses will be. Co-pays and deductibles can add up, especially during your baby’s first year of life, so always take cost into consideration.

Personal Characteristics

If you visit prospective pediatricians, take note of how their office runs. Are the staff friendly and helpful? Are they attentive to your needs? Then, when you meet the pediatrician, consider how you feel around them. Do you feel like they’re mentally invested in what you’re saying, or do you feel like they’ve checked out mid conversation? Do they use excessive medical jargon or are they speaking to you in a respectable way that you can understand? Finally, do you click with this person? You’re going to develop a strong relationship with your pediatrician, especially during the first year of your baby’s life, so it’s important that you choose someone who shares your views, communicates well, and is good at their job.

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8 Essential Tips on Finding a Pediatrician

Once you know what to look for, it’s time to start your search. Some parents have a wide network of references, family doctors, or recommendations, while others begin with a blank slate. Regardless of which category you fall under, here are eight essential tips on finding a pediatrician before delivery.


  1. Start Early

    Begin looking for a pediatrician in the third trimester, about two to three months before your due date. This gives you enough time to find someone that you’re comfortable with without feeling rushed or anxious. Start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or even your OB/GYN. This should provide a variety of options within your vicinity. If you’re not sure where to look, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a helpful tool for finding pediatricians near you. 


  2. Do Your Research

    After getting a few recommendations, conduct a little research. Look into the location of the office, typical office hours, availability of prospective pediatricians, and insurance networks. This will give you a baseline to determine whether you want to pursue a doctor further, thus saving you time and energy down the line. While you may be tempted to read online reviews, don’t make your decision based on one bad review. Every parent is different, and your views may not be the same. If a pediatrician seems like a good fit, schedule an appointment with them to make the decision for yourself.


  3. Determine Title Preference

    Consider whether it matters what kind of title your pediatrician holds. Some pediatricians have a Doctor of Medicine (MD), others have a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Both MDs and DOs are trained to diagnose and treat diseases while utilizing preventative approaches, but a DO tends to focus on more holistic measures. Both doctors are qualified to care for your baby, so this differentiation is up to you.


  4. Consider Certifications

    Regardless of if you choose an MD or DO, make sure that your pediatrician is board certified. A board-certified pediatrician is one that has undergone rigorous exams held by the governing body in their field. Passing is not easy, but it does ensure that the doctor knows what they’re doing. These exams must be retaken over the years to maintain board-certified status, thus providing parents with ongoing peace of mind that their baby is in good hands. You can also check to see if your pediatrician belongs to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which demonstrates that they adhere to the organization’s standards and guidelines. If a pediatrician is both board-certified and a member of the AAP, they’re listed as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP).


  5. Visit the Office

    When you narrow down your list of potential pediatricians, start making office visits. These can be informal, just to see how the commute is and what the interior looks like. You can ask some basic questions to the receptionist and get an idea of whether you’re comfortable in the waiting area or not.


  6. Schedule a Prenatal Visit

    If you feel comfortable during your office visit, schedule a prenatal visit with the receptionist. Undergoing a prenatal visit with prospective pediatricians will give you a better idea of what to expect and how you’ll interact with your baby’s doctor. Prenatal visits with pediatricians are especially important for high-risk pregnancies, as they allow you to provide crucial information to the doctor ahead of time. Prenatal visits with your pediatrician are great for asking questions, getting recommendations on breastfeeding or lactation consultants, and scheduling future visits.


  7. Ask Questions

    Bring a list of questions to ask your pediatrician so you can make an informed decision. Some good questions to include are:


    • What hospital are you affiliated with?
    • Do you have a separate waiting room for kids who are sick?
    • How long do typical checkups last?
    • Do you take my insurance?
    • Where do you stand on immunization? Breastfeeding? Co-sleeping? Sleep training? Potty training? Circumcision? Antibiotics?
    • Where did you attend medical school?
    • Do you have any specialties?
    • Do you have weekend or evening hours?
    • Do you accept day-of appointments if my child is sick?
    • What tests and services can be done in-house?
    • Do you respond to emails personally?


  8. Make Your Decision

If you enjoyed your prenatal visit and the doctor meets all of your criteria, schedule your baby’s first doctor’s appointment and commit to your pediatrician. Choosing a doctor that you’re comfortable with is important, but so is seeing how they actually interact with your newborn. Once you’ve made your decision, don’t worry about it until your first visit. If the interaction between your pediatrician and your baby isn’t what you hoped, you can always find a different doctor.

Choosing a pediatrician is a very personal process, but there are some things you should consider along the way. You may not know if it’s a good fit until your baby comes, but that’s okay—you can always change your pediatrician. In the meantime, Byram Healthcare is here to help you throughout your pregnancy journey into motherhood. In addition to our resources, Byram makes it easy to order an insurance covered breast pump at no cost to you. Get started with our simple, three-step ordering process, or reach out to a representative today.