Common Questions From Expecting Parents
When should I find a pediatrician?
Finding your pediatrician begins before your child is born. You want to make sure the doctors are a good fit for you and your family. While it’s not required, it can definitely put you at ease. At Westside Pediatric Group, we offer prenatal consultations. This allows expecting parents to meet with our doctors, answer initial questions like family health concerns, learn about scheduling well child visits, and get any questions about newborns answered. However, an official appointment doesn’t happen until the baby is born, about 1-2 weeks after.
What will the first pediatric appointment with my baby be like?
Typically, a first appointment consists mostly of going over initial questions about the baby’s birth and their measurements. A well child schedule will then be set in place which is once every 2 months or so until the baby turns 1. They will get vaccines according to our immunization schedule at those well child visits.
It’s recommended both parents come to the appointment if possible. You need to bring all the baby’s paperwork from the hospital, and your own identification and insurance card.
How does the immunization schedule work and what are they preventing?
Babies are extremely vulnerable. They get some vaccines at birth, but there are many other vaccines they must get to stay safe from diseases which they won’t get for another month or two. It’s extremely important that they are protected from germs in those early developmental stages, until they get most of their first dose vaccines. Talk to your pediatrician for specific guidelines, or ask us in your prenatal visit.
We follow the immunization schedule set by the CDC. This is the gold standard for vaccines and disease prevention. Not getting vaccines puts your child at risk for diseases such as Hepatitis, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and much more. Some of these diseases are easily treatable for adults, but as infants, these diseases can lead to fatality or abnormalities.
Vaccines are spread apart to prevent any complication, but also because of the nature of each vaccine and what it prevents. All vaccines have multiple doses to some extent. They may get their first vaccine at 2 months, then second dose at 4 months, then third dose at 1 year, and so on. Many vaccines are needed after the newborn turns 18 months, but many continue even into your child’s teenage years. That’s why it’s important to follow the well child schedule to make sure you stay on track.
Immunization schedules also depend on if the baby is at high risk of certain diseases, or if vaccines are missed for whatever reason. There are catch-up windows and schedules for that situation.
View our immunization schedule for more information.
Are there any diseases the mother can pass onto the child easily before they are born?
Disease passed from mother to child during pregnancy are called congenital diseases. Some of them are hereditary, some are preventable, and some are not. Mothers who eat a proper diet, exercise while pregnant, and don’t smoke or drink, lessen the risk of common congenital diseases.
Many of these congenital viruses are caused by environmental conditions and outside forces. For example, a congenital disease that is currently in the news is the Zika Virus. Women infected with Zika virus are at risk of having a baby born with a birth defect. Microcephaly, having a head smaller than normal, has been found in infants born with Zika virus. This condition causes problems in how the baby’s brain develops. The link between the virus and birth defects is still being investigated.
Limiting travel, staying healthy and up-to-date on your own vaccines can help prevent some of these diseases. Talk to your OBGYN about any specific questions, or the possibility of your child being at risk for congenital disease.