Getting the Most out of Your Visit to the Pediatrician

by Maud Meates-Dennis

I see many parents with their babies and toddlers. I realize that it can be an anxious time for parents as they are often worried about their child's health. The following tips should ensure you get the most out of your visit.

First, be prepared. Be clear about what your concerns are -- write a list, if necessary. It is easy to forget one worry when there is a lot of conversation about another. You want all your concerns dealt with, so make a list. If you have been on the net and reading health information you want your pediatrician to address, print out a copy and take it with you.

Next, be specific with your concerns. The pediatrician doesn't read minds and what may be an obvious concern to you may not be clear to anyone else. Say what worries you and why. If you have been reading about a condition and are concerned your baby or toddler may have that condition, say so. That way, your pediatrician can address your concerns specifically.

Sometimes, parents are concerned about a disease that is so unlikely that I don't even think to mention it, so the worry stays with the parents. When I know their concern, I am able to address it specifically explaining why there is no need to worry or I can arrange further investigation if that is appropriate.

If you don't understand something that is said, ask. Don't be embarrassed to ask questions. Ask for a plain language explanation of what your pediatrician is saying, not the medical jargon version. Sometimes, pediatricians use jargon without even realizing -- we don't mind if a parent says they don't understand. Pediatricians want parents to understand what is happening with their children. Keep asking questions until you understand.

Finally, ask for some written information about your child's condition or what the pediatrician has said. I always send a copy of the letter I write to the referring doctor to the parents as well. There is so much to take in sometimes that the only way you'll have any chance of remembering everything is to have it written down so you can refer back to it at a later time. Ask for information leaflets on conditions or for internet sites that have good information.

So, in summary, if you want to make the most of your visit to the pediatrician:

  • Be prepared
  • Ask questions until you understand fully
  • Ask for written back-up

Remember, your pediatrician wants the best for your baby or toddler as well.

Dr. Maud is a pediatrician who provides easy-to-understand up-to-date health information and practical medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers on her website: http://www.baby-medical-questions-and-answers.com

Copyright © Maud Meates-Dennis. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.