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New survey reveals insights into unique relationship between mothers and pediatricians

08/04/04

Moms today view pediatricians as 'parenting partners' and use a careful selection process

New York August 4, 2004 Results of a new survey released today by iVillage reveal insights into how moms select and interact with their baby's pediatrician. According to the survey, mothers today view their pediatrician as a "parenting partner" rather than solely a healthcare provider. This view has evolved over time with many of today's moms looking to their pediatricians to act as "partners" and "counselors" in caring for their children.* Moms today also place a great deal of importance on the selection process of their baby's pediatrician, with many interviewing pediatricians before selecting the one that's right for their family. Interestingly, nearly four-in-ten first-time expectant mothers (38 percent) selected their pediatrician prior to even becoming pregnant. iVillage, a leading women's media company and the number-one women's community online, commissioned the survey to explore the relationship between mothers and pediatricians.

iVillage Editor-in-Chief Kellie Gould said, "The relationship between a mother and her child's pediatrician is a powerful partnership that spans many years. We were pleased to learn that mothers today view their baby's doctor as a true partner. It's also encouraging to see that many moms are being so thorough when it comes to choosing a pediatrician. This is true of mothers today more so than any other generation."

According to the survey, 25 percent of mothers interview pediatricians before choosing a physician for their child.

In selecting a pediatrician, personality was a top consideration for moms (74 percent), second only to health insurance coverage (82 percent). In addition, more than half (51 percent) of mothers surveyed rated a doctor's compatibility with their own parenting objectives and philosophy of care as an important factor in choosing a physician for their baby. On average, moms interview between two and three pediatricians before making a selection. Of particular note, moms who interview pediatricians were more likely to report that they were extremely satisfied with their pediatrician.

Jennifer Trachtenberg, M.D., pediatrician said, "Beyond a child's own parents, the pediatrician is one of the first people with whom a baby will come into contact. This physician will see your child through many social, emotional and physical developments as he or she grows into young adulthood. When selecting your pediatrician, ensure that the doctor is up-to-date on the latest medical advances and supportive of your health choices. Also, when interviewing pediatrician candidates, be sure to ask about important topics like immunizations."

Hot Topics Discussed During Well-Baby Visit

In the first two years of a baby's life, nearly every well visit includes (a) vaccination(s). According to the survey, immunization is the number-one topic discussed during well-baby visits (93 percent). Children today may receive as many as 23 shots in the first two years of life, with as many as six per visit. While an overwhelming majority of moms chose to vaccinate their babies (98 percent), 59 percent of moms felt anxious about the number of shots. The survey also showed that most moms claim that the shots hurt them more than their child (75 percent) and nearly half (49 percent) feel guilty about the number of shots their baby receives. Nearly three-quarters of moms (71 percent) would like to reduce the number of shots children receive, however, 79 percent of moms (surveyed) have not had discussions with their pediatrician about options to reduce the number of shots.

Dr. Trachtenberg noted, "With immunization being such a large part of the well-baby visit, it's surprising that more moms and pediatricians aren't discussing combination vaccines. Moms need to be aware that there are choices available. In fact, we now have combination vaccines that significantly lower the number of shots children are getting without compromising the protection against serious childhood diseases. Today's complicated immunization schedule calls for as many as six shots per visit--which can be traumatic for both moms and babies. I encourage moms to ask pediatricians about options to reduce that number."

Close behind immunization, physical development was the number two topic discussed during well-baby visits (92 percent) with dietary guidelines (75 percent) in third place. Other important topics included cognitive development updates (74 percent), behavioral development updates (72 percent), general parenting advice (63 percent), social interaction norms (62 percent) and sleeping recommendations (45 percent). Interestingly, about a third (33 percent) of moms even consult their baby's pediatrician for their own health concerns.

"Well-baby visits can be overwhelming for a new mom there is a lot of information to digest. We were encouraged to see that many moms are searching the Internet for additional information on topics they may have discussed with their pediatricians the survey found that nearly two-thirds of mothers sought more information online regarding recommendations the doctor made," added Kellie Gould.

Power of Two: Mothers and Pediatricians Working Together

To help moms form and maintain a successful relationship with their pediatrician, Dr. Trachtenberg in partnership with iVillage.com developed an educational brochure for parents. The brochure, which includes helpful information on how to select a pediatrician and prepare for well baby visits, is available online free of charge at www.ivillage.com/PowerofTwo.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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