Choosing Your Baby's Health Care Provider

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This is the time to choose a health care provider for your baby. Just as you did for yourself, you and your partner should do a lot of research before making this important choice.

The following health professionals specialize in caring for children:
  • A doctor of osteopathy (DO) is a medical doctor who has training in osteopathy, a study of the body's muscle and bones structures. Many DO's have special training in treating children; if you do choose a DO as your baby’s health care provider, make sure that this is the case.
  • A family physician is a medical doctor who provides care to all family members, including women, men, and children.
  • A pediatrician is a medical doctor who is specially trained in caring for children.
  • A physician assistant (PA) is a health care professional licensed to practice medicine under a doctor's supervision. PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illness, do tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and in some states can write prescriptions.
  • A pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) is a nurse who has graduate training to provide baby care (including vaccinations), treat children, and prescribe medications. PNPs work with medical doctors and often have hospital privileges.
  • A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with advanced training who functions as a primary health care provider to people of any age. FNPs usually work in practices with physicians. However, they also work in rural or remote areas not served by doctors, and sometimes specialize in caring for individuals of different cultural groups.

Continue to "Prenatal Visits" journey to parenthood

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 8/27/2012