Scott Cohen (Pediatrician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: How soon after birth will my pediatrician examine my baby?; When my child is sick, how do I know if I should call the pediatrician? and more...
What is a "pediatrician"?
A paediatrician is a doctor who only specializes in children from first seconds after birth up to 18 to 21 years of age. It's a long range of growth and development. And, basically, paediatricians only deal with children from birth to 18 to 21 years of age, as opposed to a family practitioner who not only deals with children but adults as well. So basically the whole family aspect. In order to become a paediatrician, you have to go through 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of a residency training program specializing in paediatrics and that's to become a general paediatrician. And then if you choose to specialize as a paediatrician after that, you do another 3 years of speciality work. That can be in fields like the heart - cardiology, the kidney - nephrology, emergency medicine. But I am just a general paediatrician and completed the 4, 4, and 3, so a lot of years. 11 years.
What is a "prenatal visit"?
is when parents who are pregnant goes to see the doctor about what is gonna be going on in the labor and what happens what happens when they go to the hospital and different things and getting to know the doctor
How soon after birth will my pediatrician examine my baby?
Most hospitals have a pediatrician see the baby within 24 hours after delivery. So basically, what happens is you deliver, and then the pediatrician is in charge of the baby and comes to see you and the baby after delivery. The pediatrician will then see the baby every day that you're in the hospital. Usually, with vaginal deliveries, it's two days, and C-sections, it's four days. And then there are subsequent visits in the pediatrician's office after the hospital.
What happens during a regular visit to the pediatrician?
Dr. Scott Cohen: There are two types of doctor's visits in a pediatric office. There's the well visit, and then there's the not so well visit. And in the well visits, those are scheduled visits, and we'll talk about when those happen. But during a well visit, you're going to come in, you're going to have a nurse check the baby's height, weight, head circumference up to a certain age. Then the doctor is going to come in and we're going to do a full exam, head to toe. Point out every nook and cranny, answer all the questions the parents have. We'll talk about anticipatory guidance, safety, development, vaccines, if there are vaccines that visit, and then really, so that hopefully the children like us and they can say we've never hurt them for 21 years, and then the nurses come back in and give the shots. So it works out really nice, we play great good cop, bad cop with the nurses. And that is your typical well visit.
If my child is sick, what will his doctor's visit involve?
Now there's the "not-so-well" visit. That's when your child is sick. Since this is often unpredictable there are special "same-day" appointments that can be organised in order for the child to be seen by a doctor. Some doctor's offices have two separate sides of the office, some rooms for well children and some rooms for sick children. Your child will come in the not-so-well side and they'll be put in a room. The doctor then focuses just on the problem at hand, whether that's cough or cold or fever. That's a shorter visit, to focus in on the problem and get you in and out as smoothly as possible
How often should my child see his pediatrician?
Doctors' visits often follow the vaccine schedule. So, your doctor sees you every day that you're in the hospital, and every day the baby's in the hospital. Some doctors will see you about a week, four days to a week, after you leave the hospital, to check the color of the baby's skin, to rule out jaundice, just to make sure the baby is eating well, and to touch base with the parents to make sure everything is going well and that they're keeping their sanity and getting some sleep. Then the first routine visit is usually around two weeks of age. The two week visit is really important because, especially in breastfed children, most children lose up to 10% of their weight in the first week of life. At two weeks children usually regain their birth weight, so it's an important milestone. Again, it is also important to make sure the families are happy; they're getting some sleep, and keeping their sanity. After that, many paediatricians follow the vaccine schedule as far as well visits go, and those are at two, four, six months, nine months, a year, fifteen months, eighteen months, two years, and then yearly thereafter. Some paediatricians will see you more frequently in the first year of life, like monthly, but it really varies depending on paediatricians and how frequently they see your child is something about which you should talk to your paediatrician.