As expectant parents enter the third trimester of pregnancy, they’re going to have a lot on their plate and a lot of decisions to make in preparation for the baby’s arrival. One thing that the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to ensure soon-to-be parents don’t forget is a prenatal trip to the pediatrician.
“Many families do not know how important it is to have a prenatal visit with their pediatrician,” says Dr. Deirdra Myers of FPG Pediatrics at Lakewood Ranch. “But it is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to protect the health of your coming child.”
This is especially true for first-time parents and high-risk pregnancies, but is recommended for all.
The Benefits of Prenatal Pediatrics
Putting The Team Together
The best time to assemble a healthcare team for a new baby is before that baby arrives. This includes not just the pediatrician, but any spouses, partners, grandparents or other supportive adults who will be taking an active role in the child’s wellbeing. Prenatal pediatric visits are a good opportunity to build that team and establish trust and comfort between all involved. This can be especially important for adolescent parents or other first-time parents.
“Establishing care with your pediatrician early on, even before the baby is born, ensures that we are able to follow up on a regular basis,” says Dr. Myers, “as well as be able to make sure that everything is going well and be able to support and guide you continuously.”
Meeting with pediatricians early in the pregnancy also gives parents more time to look around and find the doctor that’s right for their family.
Answers & Assistance
All pregnancies come with questions—and babies are no different.
A prenatal visit with the pediatrician provides an opportunity for parents-to-be to voice any concerns or ask any questions they may have. Even before the baby arrives, pediatricians can offer guidance on everything from breastfeeding and safe sleeping to proper bathing and diaper protocol.
“We can talk about day-to-day infant care, feeding plans, safety practices, safe sleep and more,” says Dr. Myers. “Also the availability of support services, such as lactation support for families.” Support services for growing families are many, though sometimes hard to find. A good pediatrician will be able to put parents in contact with the support they need.
These prenatal visits also help establish a baseline for the pediatrician to observe, in order to keep an eye out for postpartum depression or other parenting frustrations further down the line.
Making A Plan
Prenatal visits are just the starting point for what will hopefully be a fruitful collaboration between parents and pediatrician for the benefit of the child. And bringing the pediatrician into the picture early enables them to work with the parents to lay down a plan best suited for each child and family.
“Pediatricians will work with families in scheduling future wellness checks, and also future immunizations,” says Dr. Myers. This makes it easier for parents to stay on top of their child’s health, while still living in the moment with their little miracle.
“Having a newborn is a beautiful experience but it can be overwhelming,” says Dr. Myers. “As a pediatrician I’m here to support you and guide you and walk you through this.”
Board-certified pediatrician Deirdra Myers, MD serves patients and families at the First Physicians Group Pediatrics office in Lakewood Ranch. Dr. Myers is currently accepting new patients. Please call 941-366-3000 for more information.