When you give birth for the first time, you have automatically chosen one of the most important people in your newborn’s life… the prenatal doctor.
You will see this doctor more often during the first years of your child’s life.
This simply means that you need to build a relationship with your baby’s doctor so that you can follow up with your baby when he or she experiences his or her first boo-boos and fevers.
While the first visit may vary somewhat depending on the physician, it most likely includes the following parameters:
- A complete medical examination of your newborn
- A measurement of weight, height, and head circumference to assess your baby’s condition since birth
- Tips on what to expect in the next month
- Observation of your newborn’s sight, hearing, and reflexes
- Questions about how your baby is feeding or sleeping
- General questions about your baby, or about how you are coping with your baby
You probably know that babies are born with a natural immunity to infectious diseases because antibodies to fight infection are passed from mother to baby through the umbilical cord.
However, such immunity is only temporary, as babies will develop their own immunity to many infectious diseases.
Your baby should also be vaccinated against hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth.
Regular check-ups are also very important to keep your child healthy, and up to date on immunizations for many serious childhood diseases.
In addition, checkups are an opportunity for you and the doctor to address developmental and safety issues. In addition, you can ask questions about your child’s general health. As they grow, your children may also ask their own questions about their health, and the transformation of their bodies.
Visits like these, where the doctor has the opportunity to explain to you what you need to know about your child, will help you understand the importance of the different vaccines needed for your child’s health.
These include the following vaccines:
- Haemophilus influenza type B (Hip) vaccine
- Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
- Inactivated polio vaccine
- Meningococcal meningitis vaccine
In addition, you will also receive information regarding the schedule for the above-mentioned vaccines.
In addition, it is recommended that the flu vaccine be given every year before the flu season, starting at 6 months of age.
When your child reaches adolescence, you should also know that the doctor may ask you to leave the room so that he or she can have a more private discussion with your child. This aspect is very important, certainly in adolescence, when the child begins to gain more independence and take responsibility for his or her own health.
As a parent, it is recommended that you report any medical problems you see in your child to the doctor. These include the following symptoms:
- Changes in weight or eating habits
- A persistent cough, wheezing, or other breathing problems
- Changes in behavior or sleep patterns
- Problems with growth or pubertal development
- Frequent or persistent diarrhea or vomiting
- Signs of a skin infection, or an unusual or persistent skin rash
As your child grows, you may want to consider leaving the pediatrician who has been caring for your child since birth.
The patient may feel out of place in a waiting room where toddlers are climbing on the furniture and mothers are cooing at their babies.
It is difficult to define the appropriate age to stop going to the pediatrician your child has been used to. The answer to this question is relative.
First of all, your pediatrician knows the different stages of development better than anyone else, and is most likely better equipped or more competent than a physician with an adult practice to deal with adolescents or their reproductive, mental health, or sports-related problems.
In addition, many children do not feel comfortable seeing their pediatrician to address issues such as contraception, STD testing, or other health problems, as they feel more like they are seeing a “baby doctor.”
In most cases, a child should be able to visit a pediatrician from time to time without his or her parents, starting at age 13, to establish a personal relationship with the physician and to learn how to address a practitioner.
At this age, the child should have the opportunity for a private medical examination.
This simply means that the child must also have the right to a confidential consultation with his or her physician.
This separation creates an environment in which children can confidently approach their physician when they are somewhat embarrassed to discuss certain issues in the presence of their parents.
Which brings us to the following popular question:
What is the difference between a general practitioner and a pediatrician?
Your local family doctor, the general practitioner, has specific training in general medicine and deals with the various medical problems of all age groups. Some general practitioners have a special interest in women or children, while others have additional qualifications in specialty medicine.
It is safe to say that a general practitioner is the first person to contact if you are concerned about your baby’s development or health.
After explaining your problem, the general practitioner will help you determine if you need to see another practitioner, or possibly a specialist such as a pediatrician. I think this definition better describes the role of a generalist.
In addition, you can talk to your general practitioner…
- To monitor and track your child’s health and development
- To talk about your tensions and personal problems
- To refer you to other service providers or support agencies, such as speech therapists or child psychologists
- To help you avoid medical problems in the first place
- To treat accidents without risk, such as cuts, blows to the head without gravity, or to plaster certain fractures
So now you have a better overview of the different tasks that a GP has to do, right?
A pediatrician is a physician who provides specialized medical care to infants, children, and adolescents.
After completing general medical school, the student had to complete at least six years of training before becoming a pediatrician.
Their job is to be knowledgeable about the various diseases and conditions that can affect your child’s health, well-being, and behavior.
Pediatricians understand the relationships between different diseases and conditions, and some are trained in general areas, while others specialize in areas such as neonatology, cardiology, or development and behavior.
I know the next question you would like to address is:
When should my child be seen by a pediatrician?
Usually, this decision is made after a consultation with your general practitioner or family doctor, together with your child.
A general practitioner should be able to confirm that your child needs specialized treatment or care.
Here are the problems that a pediatrician can assess and treat in your child:
- Disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, fragile X syndrome
- Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Muscle and bone problems, such as hunched backs or knees, or hip dysplasia
- Fecal incontinence, or constipation
- Brain diseases, such as epilepsy
In conclusion, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor if you suspect any problem in your child.
Remember, you know your child best!
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