How to choose a baby doctor

Jerold Woodhead, MD, a University of Iowa pediatrician, offers some tips:

Jerold Woodhead, MD
Jerold Woodhead, MD
  • Don’t delay. If possible, choose a baby doctor well in advance of the due date. Everything will go more smoothly, and you’ll feel more comfortable with your choice.
  • Know your options. Learn about the various types of pediatric care providers.
  • Be systematic. Compile a list of potential doctors and go from there. Ask your friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers with kids—people you trust. If you’re compiling a list of doctors for your baby, ask your obstetrician or midwife for recommendations.
  • Ask the right questions of the people you trust. SEE BELOW.
  • Once you have your list, narrow it to a small handful you’d like to meet in person. Then schedule get-acquainted sessions and make your choice.
  • Last but not least, consider the value of being part of a team approach to health care. Health care at the University of Iowa is delivered by teams of health care specialists working together, not just individual doctors acting alone. Our teams include doctors, nurses, therapists, technologists, support staff, and–most importantly–you and your family. Indeed, experience tells us that your active participation–via questions, comments, and a willingness to share family health history–are important to achieving the best possible outcome in the event of illness or injury.


  • How much does the doctor seem to enjoy working with children?
  • Does the doctor seem to be aware of the latest medical advances?
  • Does he or she welcome questions?
  • Does the doctor listen to your concerns?
  • How helpful and courteous are the office staff?
  • how pleasant and child-friendly is the waiting room?
  • How convenient is the parking?
  • Is there anything you wish was different about your child’s doctor or practice?


  • Are you certified by a medical/specialty board?
  • How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
  • Do you encourage “preventive medicine” such as routine checkups, immunizations, and follow-up tests?
  • Do you keep paper or electronic medical records?
  • Do you take questions by e-mail?
  • What arrangements are made for a substitute if you are unavailable?
  • Do you accept after hours appointments?

AFTER HOURS AT IOWA RIVER LANDING: It isn’t always convenient for parents or children to see the doctor during regular workday hours. That’s why UI Health Care—Iowa River Landing offers after-hours appointments on evenings and weekends.

–Fall/Winter 2012