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Pediatric well-baby visits are a critical part of childhood care. The examination is intended to assess the infant or young child's growth and development, recognize problems early and supply appropriate intervention, provide immunizations, instruct and educate the parents, and provide treatment for existing problems.
Preventive medicine is extremely important in childhood because it sets the stage for improved health and reduced disease risk as an adult. The typical well-baby visit will provide information about normal development, diet, general care, immunizations, the latest infectious diseases that are "going around," and other important advice information for parents.
There are several schedules for routine well baby visits. Two schedules are given below, a full schedule and an abbreviated schedule. Both are satisfactory in terms of well-baby care. Other variations exist.
Of course, visits and phone calls to a health care provider should be made any time a baby seems ill or whenever the parent is concerned about a baby's health or development. A well-baby visit usually consists of questions for the parent about the infant's general health and development, followed by a physical examination. The examination includes measurements of length/height, weight and head circumference, vital signs, and a general physical examination.
Special attention is paid to whether the infant has met the normal developmental milestones. The height, weight and head circumference is recorded on a graph, which the health care provider keeps with the infant's chart. You may want to note the results of the well-baby examination in your own medical record for the baby. You also can keep your own records of the height, weight, and head circumference.
The well-baby examination is an ideal time to discuss concerns or questions with your health care provider. This may include special questions you have about immunizations, nutrition, growth and development, accident prevention and family related concerns. If you have important questions, it is a good idea to write them down before going for your well-baby visit - you will save time and won't forget any of the questions you wanted to discuss.
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.