Year of Horse bringing baby boom with it

Updated: 2014-02-22 01:39

By CANG WEI and SONG WENWEI in Nanjing (China Daily)

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Storks are busy delivering newborns in cities across China as the Year of the Horse bolts from the stable and couples try to have their child born in what they consider an auspicious year.

According to Zhu Li, matron of Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital's maternity department, more than 500 babies were born in the hospital in the first 10 days of the Year of the Horse, an increase of 30 percent on the same period last year.

"Normally about 60 babies are born in the hospital each day, but on the first working day after the Spring Festival break, the number surged to 87," Zhu said.

Many people believe that babies born in the Year of the Horse, which began Jan 31 in 2014, will be endowed with good luck.

According to China's Wu Xing theory, every year has a characteristic of one of the five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — and this year will benefit from its metal element, and that element's most valuable form is gold.

Consequently, the year is also called the Year of the Golden Horse.

Many cities across the country have seen a similar baby boom.

In Harbin Maternity Hospital, Heilongjiang province, 133 babies were born in the first six days of the Year of the Horse. The corresponding days last year saw 92 births, local newspaper Life Daily reported.

According to in Shandong province, local hospitals saw a 30 percent increase in births since the new year got into the saddle.

Amid the birth surge, methods of delivery have also been observed changing as the demand for cesarean sections has gone down.

Normally up to 40 percent of births are delivered by cesarean section, but since the new year that has fallen to about 30 percent as more mothers consider the option of having a second child, Zhu said.

Tao Fei, the mother of a 3-day-old girl, said she chose to give birth naturally because doctors told her if she had a cesarean, she would have to wait at least two years before getting pregnant again, in order to give her uterus time to recover.

Statistics from the health bureau of Wuxi, Jiangsu province, showed that its cesarean rate has fallen to less than 45 percent. Previously, the rate remained constant at around 50 percent.

According to a nationwide survey by China Youth Daily in November, 62.5 percent of respondents want to have two children if the family planning policy permits, while 5.9 percent want to have three or more.

China eased its family planning policy in November. Couples with one spouse who is an only child will soon have the chance to have two children.

Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces have implemented the approval process for the two-child policy. Another nine provincial areas are expected to complete the process soon.

To prepare for a possible baby boom arising from the policy and the Year of the Horse, many hospitals in Nanjing have drawn up expansion plans for their maternity departments.

Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital has established the province's first "second child clinic".

"The question asked most frequently by women, especially those above 35 years of age, is whether they are still able to get pregnant," said Huang Jianying, a doctor with the Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital.

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