Pediatrician Vs Family Care Doctor | Revere Health

Having a baby is one of the most exciting events in life, but it also comes with a ton of advanced planning and details to work out. Bringing a new life into the world involves a lot of hard work, from the birth itself to the dozens and dozens of alterations parents make to their lives.

One of the most important details to take care of when expecting a baby is medical care moving forward. There isn’t anything more important than your baby’s health, and making sure everything is lined up from a care standpoint is a must before the baby is born.

For some parents, a dilemma comes up during this process: Go with a pediatrician or a family physician? Both have specific pros and cons, and it can be tough to know which to choose. Here are a few basic tips for making your decision.

Pediatricians

Pediatricians focus specifically on child care and preventive children’s health. All pediatricians are required to complete a four-year medical school program, plus a three-year pediatric residency. Then, they’re required to pass an exam from the American Board of Pediatrics. They’re also required to retake this test once every seven years to make sure they’re still qualified.

Some pros of choosing a pediatrician for your child include:

  • Specialized child care only
  • Communication – knows how to speak to kids, get on their level
  • Experience dealing with parents in all situations
  • Experience with rare issues specific to children

And a few cons of pediatricians:

  • You’ll eventually need to switch doctors – pediatricians can only treat until age 18
  • Whole family can’t be treated by the same doctor
  • Medical records – pediatricians may or may not get access to family medical information, which can be a serious issue for some people with pre-existing conditions

Family Physicians

Though their requirements for school and training are relatively similar, family physicians are trained in several other areas of medicine beyond just pediatrics – usually a few months in each area during their three-year residency after medical school. They’re less of a specialty doctor, and more of a general practice option.

For people getting ready to have a child, this can hold a few specific benefits:

  • One doctor can treat the entire family
  • Doctor will have access to all family medical records
  • Child won’t have to change doctors sometime during childhood
  • For young girls, gynecological care is often also offered. It isn’t always offered by pediatricians

At the same time, there are a few major drawbacks to a family practice physician for some people:

  • Less specific focus on child care
  • Can be less comfortable for kids
  • Some won’t take children under a certain age

How to Search

When choosing between a pediatrician or a family care doctor, you should be prepared in several areas. First, this process should begin well before the child is born – don’t leave it until the last moment. Most recommendations are as early as three months before birth.

The first important task is figuring out which options you have within your health insurance plan. If you’re unsure about coverage, you can speak with your insurance company for clarification.

Once you’ve got a list of doctors that take your insurance, you can begin the search process. It’s totally acceptable during this process to speak with multiple doctors, both pediatricians and family care practitioners. There are dozens of good questions you can ask a potential doctor – the goal is for them to prove to you why they’d be good for your family and your specific situation.

Throughout this process, stay as clear and straightforward as you can. Be up front with doctors about what your needs are, and what you’ll be expecting. Make sure you see the office and are confident you and your child will be comfortable there. Medical care is a huge part of a child’s life in the early years, and they deserve high quality care.

Brandon Hall, MD

Revere Health’s family medical practice in Lehi specializes in weight control, depression management, skin care, hormone replacement, cardiac conditions and cholesterol management, and we strive to provide our patients and their families with quality healthcare services. The number one way to provide safe, effective healthcare is to educate patients and make sure I listen to and understand their story and what they want to get out of their healthcare.

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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.

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