Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

What Is a Pediatrician?

One of the many things you need to do to prepare for your little one's arrival is to choose a doctor to oversee his or her health care. A pediatrician is medical doctor who manages the physical, behavioral, and mental health of children from birth until age 21. A pediatrician is trained to diagnose and treat a broad range of childhood illnesses from minor health problems to serious diseases.

Pediatricians have graduated from medical school and completed a three-year residency program in pediatrics. A board-certified pediatrician has passed rigorous exams given by the American Board of Pediatrics. To remain certified, pediatricians have to meet regular continuing education requirements.

What Does Your Pediatrician Do?

Your pediatrician will see your child many times from birth to age 2 and annually from age 2 to age 5 for "well-child visits." After age 5, your pediatrician will likely continue to see your child every year for annual checkups. Your pediatrician is also the first person to call whenever your child is sick. In caring for your child, a pediatrician will:

  • Do physical exams.
  • Give your child recommended immunizations.
  • Make sure your child is meeting developmental milestones in growth, behavior, and skills.
  • Diagnose and treat your child's illnesses, infections, injuries, and other health problems.
  • Give you information about your child's health, safety, nutrition, and fitness needs.
  • Answer your questions about your child's growth and development.
  • Refer to and collaborate with specialists should your child need care beyond the pediatrician's expertise.

How Does Your Pediatrician Work With Your Delivery Team?

Most hospitals ask if you have a pediatrician when you go in to deliver. Your baby's first examination may be with a hospital pediatrician or your chosen pediatrician. This depends on hospital policy and whether your pediatrician makes rounds at the hospital where you deliver. If a hospital pediatrician examines your baby, he or she will provide your pediatrician with the records from these exams.

After you leave the hospital, your pediatrician will see your baby 48 to 72 hours after discharge, then regularly after that for "well-child visits."

If your child ever needs more specialized care, your pediatrician will coordinate care with other providers. He or she will help you understand complex information and help you make decisions as needed.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy