The American Academy of Pediatrics last endorsed the prenatal visit in a policy statement in April 1984. The Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health recognizes that significant social changes have occurred since then and asserts its continuing support for this service as a valuable component of comprehensive pediatric care.

Most pediatricians think that the prenatal visit is helpful to themselves and prospective parents. Because they do not initiate the visits, many pediatricians have found that discussing the concept with the referring obstetrician in the community has been very helpful in increasing the number of these visits.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PRENATAL VISIT

Several objectives can be served by the prenatal visit.

1. Establishing the physician-parent relationship. The prenatal period is a good time to start building the therapeutic alliance that should last throughout the child's pediatric care. Pediatricians who meet with the parents before the delivery demonstrate how much they value this relationship. A prenatal visit introduces the parents to the concept of a medical home for the child's future health and developmental needs.

2. Gathering basic information. The most important information to collect concerns the general assets and needs of the parents and their worries about the expected infant. Pertinent areas to discuss in addition to the family medical history are the parents' own experiences being reared, their background with other children and medical care, complications and concerns with this pregnancy, and possible problems with their newborn. Knowledge about the parents' occupations and education may be useful.

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