The Importance of a Prenatal Visit for Expectant Parents

The latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say that all parents-to-be should visit a pediatrician during their third trimester of pregnancy. The prenatal visit is very important as it is the first step in creating a supportive, safe and strong home for a new baby. These updated recommendations can be read in the July 2018 issue of Pediatrics – a clinical report released by the AAP.

According to this survey, 78 percent of pediatricians offer a prenatal visit, but only five to 39 percent of first-time parents actually attend. The AAP says such visits are especially important for any of the following:

  • First-time parents
  • Single parents
  • Parents whose previous pregnancies have had complications
  • Women with high-risk pregnancies, complications or multiple gestation’s

Overall, a full office visit is a great way to build a relationship between you as parents and a pediatrician. Topics discussed can change depending on the provider, your interests as the parent or any complications your or your fetus may be experiencing.

Dr. Arthur Lavin, MD, FAAP, one of the co-authors of the AAP’s report says the following:

“This is the only routine child wellness visit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that doesn’t actually require a child in the room. It gives parents an opportunity to really focus on any questions and concerns they may have. They can talk with a pediatrician before the fatigue of new parenthood sets in and there’s an adorably distracting little human in their arms who may be crying, spitting up, or in immediate need of feeding or a diaper change.”

Dr. Nathan Graber, pediatrician with St. Peter’s Pediatrics in Clifton Park, reviews the importance of a prenatal visit for expectant parents and how it’s an opportunity to establish a relationship with the pediatrician. He discusses what is covered in a prenatal visit including what parents can expect in the visit schedule, formula vs. breast milk, the immunization schedule, safety issues, and the office and provider availability.

Hear more from Dr. Graber by watching the video below.

To set up a prenatal visit, you should call a pediatrician’s office to ask whether or not they are accepting new patients and ask about emergency coverage, fees, health insurance accepted, hospital affiliation and office hours. From there, you can work with their office staff on scheduling a prenatal visit, which should occur during the third trimester. It’s a great idea to come to the appointment with a list of questions that you would like answered and to bring other family members who may become a part of your new baby’s life.

As you prepare to bring a new child into the world, you are filled with excitement, maybe a little anxiety, and definitely have a lot of questions. Scheduling a prenatal visit can help build a partnership between you, your family and a pediatrician that will work together to help keep a child healthy through infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

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