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How to Choose Your Pediatrician

Looking for a pediatrician? Follow these steps to find the right provider for you and yours.


As an expecting parent, the decisions you make now can have a lasting impact on the rest of your child’s life. Finding a pediatrician that is a good match for you and your family is an easy way to ensure your child has access to the healthcare they need as they grow and develop.

What is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a medical doctor that specializes in the development and healthcare of infants, children and adolescents. While most pediatricians are knowledgeable about the diagnosis and treatment of childhood diseases, many of them also have a special area of interest within their practice. If a pediatrician is unable to provide treatment, they may refer your child to a specialist.

When should I select a pediatrician?

Choosing a pediatrician before your child is born can help relieve some of the stress in the days leading up to the main event. Many families select a pediatrician between 25 and 35 weeks into the pregnancy. Others identify their pediatrician at the hospital when they go into labor.

“There’s no wrong answer; choose a pediatrician when it feels right for your family,” says Sarah Holland, DO, Pediatrics & Primary Care physician at The Iowa Clinic on Alice’s Road in Waukee.

How do I know a pediatrician is right for my family?

With dozens of pediatricians in the Des Moines area, you have a variety of choices in finding the best doctor for your family. So do your homework. There are many factors to consider — location, recommendations, insurance network — but ultimately, you want someone you feel comfortable with and trust.

You might not find the right fit immediately, but it’s OK to test the waters and keep looking for a pediatrician who feels like the right match for your family.

Toddler and pediatrician

7 Tips for Finding the Perfect Pediatrician

A pediatrician is the hub of your child’s healthcare. It's critical to find someone who stays connected with your local medical community and has a broad understanding of care options. Follow these seven tips to reach an informed decision in your search for a pediatrician:

1. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. 

Get recommendations from the people you know and trust. If they have great relationships with their pediatricians, that can help narrow down your list of options.

2. Get a recommendation from your healthcare provider.

Your OB/GYN can offer suggestions or recommendations for pediatricians. Your primary care physician can also be a great resource.

3. Read physician profiles, online rankings and reviews.

Head to clinic websites and trusted review sites to learn more about the pediatricians in your area. Use this opportunity to learn more about the doctors on your shortlist of recommendations and add to it. Look at each doctor’s credentials, board certifications, clinical interests, admitting hospitals and bios. Gain more insight by reading other people’s experiences with each provider.

4. Locate your nearest hospitals and clinics. 

Location is a factor, but it shouldn’t be the most important one. Babies see their pediatrician a number of times during the first year of life, so you’ll want to make sure the office is conveniently located to fit your family's needs and schedule.

5. Check your insurance network.

Contact your insurance company for a complete list of providers in and out of your network to ensure your top choices make the cut. You may find yourself at the clinic for other health issues, and the cost of your care may vary depending on if your insurance company considers a provider as in-network or out-of-network.

Pediatrician talking with child

Meet Our Pediatricians

Expert, kid-friendly care across the Des Moines metro area.

Choose Your Pediatrician

6. Determine whether the pediatricians rounds in your hospital. 

As you speak with different pediatricians, ask whether they’ll complete your baby’s first checkup at the hospital. This is a more important step for parents who choose a doctor ahead of time.

“When you select a pediatrician from our clinic, the pediatrician who is on call will examine your new baby and meet with the parents in the hospital daily,” says Adam Secory, DO, a Pediatrics & Primary Care physician in Waukee. “We also work with parents to set up your newborn’s first appointment in our clinic after they are discharged from the hospital.”

7. Schedule an office visit.

Once you have identified a few potential pediatricians, schedule some time to visit the clinic where they practice and chat.

“A face-to-face meeting is sometimes the only way to establish trust and truly feel comfortable with someone” says Dr. Holland. “And by visiting the clinic, you’ll also get a feel for the environment, staff and the rest of the healthcare team. At the Iowa Clinic, we offer this service free of charge.”

Prepare questions to ask your prospective doctor.

After you have scheduled visits with a few pediatricians, do a little prep work to make the most of your time with them. Of course you want to make sure they are friendly and make you feel comfortable. But you should use this time to get additional information specific to your family’s healthcare needs, especially if you or someone in your family has a chronic condition.

Ask all prospective pediatricians these questions:

  1. What are your office hours?
  2. How long is the typical wait for an appointment?
  3. Does this practice use a team-based approach for coverage when you’re unavailable?
  4. Which other providers work in this clinic?
  5. How do you communicate with children and their parents?
  6. What other common services or lab tests are available at this location?
  7. Do you or clinic staff handle health-related questions during or after office hours?
  8. Who handles a healthcare emergency for me or my family?
  9. What are your referral policies?
  10. What are your payment policies?

Choose the best pediatrician for you and your child. 

Finding a pediatrician that checks all the boxes is a personal choice. Even if you have got a great recommendation from a friend, your preferences and your family’s needs are different.

A pediatrician will be your point person for the health and wellness of your child for years. Over time, you’ll develop a deeper relationship and comfort with your provider. In turn, they will gain a deeper understanding of your family’s medical history to serve as your health advocate.

Meet the Waukee Alice's Road Pediatricians

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