Welcome to Week 31! Just nine weeks to go, which means there’s still time to plan for some of those post-delivery things you’ll need to take care of, and better to take care of them now before the baby arrives when it’s easier to carve out time for yourself. What exactly are we talking about? Read on to find out.
Up until now, your contact with medical professionals has most likely been limited to your OB/GYN or obstetrics professional and any support staff they have. But it won’t be long now (about nine weeks to be exact) until you’ll need a whole new team of medical professionals, led by a pediatrician or in some cases a family practitioner.
Although it might feel premature, now is actually a great time to start looking for a pediatrician. The good news is that many of them welcome visits from expecting parents and are happy to form a relationship with your family before it expands with the arrival of your baby.
There’s no wrong way to find a pediatrician for your baby, as long as you are happy with your final choice. You can ask friends and other parents whom they use, and set up an appointment to go into the office and meet the doctors. Doctors who are board-certified with the American Academy of Pediatrics have the designation “FAAP” after the name, which stands for “Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.” You can also do things the new old-fashioned way: start with a search engine and look for a pediatrician local to you whose website resonates with your beliefs.
When you do go into your prospective doctor’s office, here are some good questions to ask:
- Are you certified to practice at the hospital/birthing center where I’ll be delivering? (And if not, that’s OK too – you’ll see the pediatrician who works for the hospital during your stay but will follow up with the pediatrician of your choice a few days after you are discharged home)
- What can I expect from office visits?
- What is your position on things that are important to me (such as certain dietary practices like veganism, vaccinations, breastfeeding, and spanking)?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What is your policy for after-hours calls and/or visits?
- Can I meet your staff?
- What is your position on antibiotics?
- Do you take my insurance, or what are your fees for private paying?
This is not an exhaustive list! The main idea is to find a doctor whose practices, beliefs, and general approach fit well with your family. If possible, you should also take your partner or spouse along to any interview, even if you expect to be doing most of the doctor’s visits.
It’s not an understatement to say that your relationship with your pediatrician can be one of the most important relationships in your child’s early care, so while you still have the energy, freedom, and mobility, perhaps think about finding your child’s doctor now.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 29 weeks. He or she likely weighs about 3.25 pounds and measures 17 inches from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. All curled up in the uterus, your baby is about the size of a squash. This week, you baby is still plenty active. The big work going on now is weight gain. In fact, you can expect a real growth spurt to start soon enough.