Every family and every baby is unique, so finding the right pediatric provider before a new arrival is one important way families can ease the stress of new parenthood.

Pediatrician Dr. Philip Thevaos of Novant Health Child & Adolescent Medical Group encourages families to find a pediatric provider early, around six months into pregnancy.

“It is ideal to start shopping around before the baby’s birth,” Thevaos said. “The hospital and pediatric provider work hand in hand.”

Families can expect to make their first visit to the pediatric provider just two days after discharge from the hospital. Most leave the hospital two or three days after birth, and bring their newborn to see the pediatric provider on his or her fourth or fifth day of life, and then again at one week and at two weeks.

“There are quite a few factors that have to be addressed preventively in those first two weeks,” Thevaos said. “That’s why there are three visits within that period.”

According to Thevaos, expecting parents should consider the following steps in choosing the right pediatric provider for their child:

  • Shop around. About half of patients seen in his office made their selection . New parents looking for a pediatric provider can request to come into the office for a prenatal visit, allowing them to ask the physician questions and return home with information to help them prepare for baby’s arrival.
  • Ask a friend. “The best way I’ve found we get referrals is word-of-mouth,” Thevaos said. “Ask your friends and neighbors who they go to. I would be a little bit leery about making a judgement about a practice based solely on internet ratings because you don’t know how many times that person has been to that office for either a very good or bad rating. If you’re going to use that kind of tool – the way I use it for other things – I disregard the very best and very worst rating and read the ones in the middle and see what most people say.”
  • Consider access. In addition to finding a clinic close to home, determine the pediatric provider’s office hours, including weekend hours. Find out how easy it is to get an appointment.
  • Ask lots of questions. Families may have varying questions from vaccines needed to when to schedule baby’s circumcision, which can be done in the hospital or the pediatric office. Expecting parents should plan to talk to the pediatric provider about these medical concerns before baby’s birth.

As families prepare for a new baby, ensuring that they’ve found the right pediatric provider can help the transition from hospital to home and ease new routines with pediatric care that fits them as perfectly as their new arrival.

Find a Novant Health pediatric provider online using a helpful search tool .