Doc­tors pre­dict spike in re­quests for ma­ter­nity care

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COVERSTORY - By WANG QINGYUN and SHAN JUAN

The govern­ment’s re­lax­ation of its birth rule to al­low more cou­ples to have a sec­ond baby pro­vided an in­stant stim­u­lus to ma­ter­nity-care and fer­til­ity cen­ters on the Chi­nese main­land.

Prepa­ra­tions for changes that will come with the new pol­icy — which au­thor­i­ties ex­pect to be im­ple­mented early next year — are now un­der way.

Late last month, the Ob­stet­rics & Gy­ne­col­ogy Hos­pi­tal af­fil­i­ated with the Zhe­jiang Univer­sity took the na­tional lead by open­ing a spe­cial con­sul­ta­tion unit de­signed to help newly el­i­gi­ble cou­ples have a healthy sec­ond child.

Hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties said the unit would be open once a week and that it would be staffed by vet­eran doc­tors aim­ing to help women have smooth preg­nan­cies.

Mean­while, in Bei­jing, vet­eran gy­ne­col­ogy and ob­stet­rics spe­cial­ists ex­pressed con­cerns about what they see as a pos­si­ble gap be­tween the ris­ing de­mand for ma­ter­nity ser­vices and the cur­rent ca­pac­ity to de­liver them. The sys­tem is al­ready strained, they say.

Wang Aim­ing, di­rec­tor of gy­ne­col­ogy and ob­stet­rics at the Navy Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Bei­jing, said the pol­icy will put more pres­sure on her depart­ment if more women choose to give birth. The num­ber of prob­lem cases will also rise, she said.

“Right now we are run­ning at our full ca­pac­ity,” she said.

Last year about 2,500 chil­dren were born in the hos­pi­tal, and her depart­ment is al­ready con­sid­er­ing short­en­ing the time a woman can stay in the de­liv­ery ward.

Since the govern­ment an­nounced the new pol­icy al­low­ing only-child cou­ples to have two chil­dren, many cou­ples with a new baby in mind have come to Wang’s depart­ment for as­sis­tance. Wang said she be­lieves they will keep com­ing.

“They in­clude women who have had mis­car­riages as a re­sult of pre­vi­ous abor­tions, and those who can­not get preg­nant eas­ily be­cause of their age,” she said.

Liu Ping, deputy di­rec­tor of the fer­til­ity cen­ter of Pek­ing Univer­sity Third Hos­pi­tal, a depart­ment that helps peo­ple over­come re­pro­duc­tive dif­fi­cul­ties, also ex­pected the num­ber of those seek­ing help to rise.

“The first gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren born un­der the one-child pol­icy are now in their 30s. Women of 35 or above will feel more ur­gency about hav­ing another child and more of them will come to con­sult us or seek med­i­cal as­sis­tance,” she said.

Most of the peo­ple who come to the cen­ter for med­i­cal as­sis­tance are try­ing to have their first child, Liu said, and those who want med­i­cal as­sis­tance for a sec­ond child will need to show pa­pers is­sued by fam­ily plan­ning au­thor­i­ties to prove they are el­i­gi­ble.

LONG WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

A spe­cial con­sul­ta­tion unit de­signed to help newly el­i­gi­ble cou­ples to have a healthy sec­ond child opens in the Ob­stet­rics & Gy­ne­col­ogy Hos­pi­tal af­fil­i­ated with the Zhe­jiang Univer­sity.

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