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The early years of a child’s life are important to their lifelong health and development. During those first years it is necessary to identify and prevent potential issues that could compromise the child’s health. This is done through a series of well-child checks or visits.
Well-child checks allow a doctor to track the development of the child. Each check provides an opportunity to measure progress and make sure they get the care they need to stay healthy. Let’s look at the basics of the well-child visit, and how they can help you and your child.
The first of these well-child checks can actually occur before the child has been born. This will function as a simple way for parents to make their final preparations for birth and ask any questions they may have.
These visits are especially recommended for parents having their first child, or parents who have any kind of a high-risk pregnancy. Parents are encouraged to ask any questions they have, no matter how simple they may seem. Common questions include topics like feeding issues, circumcision choices and other basic health concerns.
Once the child is born, these well-child checks will begin in earnest. Just like with the pre-birth visit, you’re encouraged to bring any questions you have about the child’s health or development.
Some of the areas that will be addressed during well-child checks can include:
Depending on your child’s individual development, there may be other important topics that become a regular part of your well-child visits.
In general, it’s recommended that you follow these guidelines for how often your child receives a well-child visit (beginning with the soonest visit after birth):
If your child has any specific health issues or if you have specific concerns about their development, additional visits might be necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics, per their child care guidelines called Bright Futures, has a group of pre-visit questionnaires you can fill out before each of the set age thresholds we listed above. These questionnaires will focus mostly on development benchmarks, nutrition and the emotional health of the entire family.
For any questions or more information about well-child care visits, speak with your healthcare provider.
“Well-child visits.” MedlinePlus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001928.htm
“AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits.” HealthyChildren.org. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/health-management/Pages/Well-Child-Care-A-Check-Up-for-Success.aspx
“Bright Futures.” American Academy of Pediatrics. https://brightfutures.aap.org/Pages/default.aspx
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.