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Right now, your OB or midwife is monitoring the health of your unborn baby. But as soon as your baby enters into this world, your baby will need his or her own doctor. Start looking into a doctor for your baby several months before your due date. Deciding on a doctor and figuring out health insurance before your child's birth saves time and gives you peace of mind as you near labor. Also, if you deliver early, somebody you know and trust will be at the ready to care for your new child.
One of the most important things you need to do before giving birth is decide on a doctor for your baby. Babies need frequent checkups, vaccines, and they sometimes get sick. So don't wait until you need a doctor to make a choice. Doctors that care for babies and children include:
Some nurses with special training also can care for your new baby. They are called pediatric nurse practitioners. Many medical offices have both nurse practitioners and doctors on staff.
To help you choose a doctor for your baby:
If you deliver at a hospital where your baby's doctor normally sees patients, she will see the baby right after the delivery. If not, a pediatrician on staff at the hospital should see your baby right after the birth. Then you can call your baby's doctor to schedule a visit a few days after birth. Remember to get your baby's medical records before leaving the hospital. Your baby's doctor will need them.
To get regular checkups and important vaccines, your baby will need health insurance. Some women have health insurance through an employer or are able to buy it on their own. If you have health insurance, find out how to add your new baby to your policy. You also should find out which doctors will work with your plan and what types of care are covered by your policy. Find out how much you have to pay for visits.
If you're worried about paying for health care, programs for women and children in need can help. The following organizations can help you and your baby get medical care:
Content last updated: September 27, 2010.