Routine Health Visits or Check-ups
Why are these visits important?
Children grow and develop very fast, and both their bodies and their minds need to undergo a lot of changes. This growth and development follow certain expected patterns and curves.
Paediatricians are trained in these curves and patterns, and during a routine visit we will look closely whether your child follows them, recognise deviations early and identify abnormalities in either growth or development. We can then intervene timeously and therefore prevent complications or limit the impact it has on the child.
What will happen during these visits?
Your paediatrician will first take a history, where questions will be asked re your child’s development, health etc. We will also listen to all your questions and worries and will answer them to the best of our ability.
During the consultation special focus will be on the development of your child, looking deeply at his or her ability to do certain things. We will also observe your child during his or her interaction with us and you, during play as well as being examined. Our focus will be on age appropriate behaviour.
Your child will then be weighed and measured and carefully examined, evaluating all the body organs and functions.
The paediatrician will use the numbers to plot your child on growth charts that evaluates weight, height or length and head circumference. See at the end of the article the explanation on growth charts.
At the end of the consultation we will discuss our findings with the parents, communicate positives and negatives and discuss a plan, whether that be intervention or a follow up routine visit.
We will also spend time to educate parents on certain things like weaning practices, discipline, sleep routines etc.
What can I do to get the most out of them?
These are the visits where you can ask advice about parenting, health, eating habits, or anything else relating to your child.
It helps us a lot if the parents or caregivers come prepared with a list of questions. Ask your doctor anything you like, and if there is anything that has come up during the consultation we appreciate your input and questions.
Mention all your concerns, whether you think they might be insignificant or not. The more information we have, the better we are able to help you.
What do I need to bring with?
Please bring your list of questions, your clinic book and any health records, tests, letters or other information re your child that you have.
Who must come to these visits?
If possible both parents and anybody that interacts with your child on a frequent and regular basis like grandparents, caregivers or nannies. It is important to get everybody’s opinion. If the child is accompanied by only 1 parent, try to ask the other role players for their questions or concerns as well.
How often do I need to come for a health check?
During the first year it is every 3-4 months, during the second year every 6 months and there-after every year. If there are special concerns re growth or development your paediatrician may ask you to come more regular to follow up on these issues.
What are growth charts and what do they mean?
Growth charts are internationally standarized charts for the expected avarage growth of children. It is divided in centile lines. A child is supposed to follow a specific centile line, this means that he or she is gaining weight, length and head circumference at the expected rate. It is NOT expected that all children must grow on the middle line called the 50th centile. The 50th percentile just means that on average 50% of normal children are weighing more, is taller or has a bigger head than that value and 50% of normal children are growing below this line.