A visit to the pediatrician's office by the expectant couple makes good sense; yet, it appears to be the exception rather than the rule. In a recent survey, 73% of 118 practicing pediatricians reported that they conduct prenatal visits, but only 22% of their expectant couples had actually been seen before their infant's birth. This percentage is even lower in other settings.
On their first contact with the pediatrician, expectant parents should be encouraged to make an appointment for an office visit. This visit, which usually takes place during the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy, represents an opportunity for the pediatrician to gather data, give information, initiate a continuing relationship, and enhance the parents' competency in decision making. The session helps the parents select a pediatrician with whom they are comfortable and enables them to feel that they are meeting their responsibility to provide skilled care for their infant.
In the beginning of the prenatal visit, the pediatrician should convey a personal interest in the prospective parents by asking questions that provide an opportunity for him or her to become acquainted with the parents and their expectations: "How long have you lived in the community?" "What kind of work do you do?" "What are your interests and hobbies?" "How have you been feeling?" "How do you expect to deliver?" How do you plan to feed your baby?" "Have you obtained an infant car seat to take the baby home in?" "Is it a boy or girl?" Prenatal discussions with the pediatrician may augment the expectant couple's confidence in their feelings about breast-feeding, circumcision, and rooming-in.
- Copyright © 1984 by the American Academy of Pediatrics