To prevent a medical shortage caused by the high number of births
expected in the auspicious Year of the (Golden) Pig, Beijing's health
authority has suggested expectant mothers steer clear of the top hospitals
to avoid overloading them.
But Xiao Xun, head of the Women's and
Children's Affairs Division under the Beijing Health Bureau, said the city
has sufficient obstetrics
resources, going on the current birth rate.
Xiao said the city currently has 3,800 beds and 3,000 medical workers
available in its 170 obstetrics departments and hospitals.
"The difficulty is that many pregnant women only choose a few top
hospitals to have physical checks and deliver, while the other hospitals
have beds available," Xiao was quoted by the Beijing Times as saying.
Xiao said the auspicious Year of the (Golden) Pig had fueled the birth
rate this year, and Beijing expected a total of 150,000 babies to be born
in 2007, compared with 129,000 in 2006.
The lunar calendar designates one of 12 zodiac signs to each year. The
years also rotate through five elements gold, wood, water, fire and earth.
In 2007, the Year of the Pig coincides with the element of gold. It is
said children born in this year are blessed with a carefree life.
This notion has sparked a baby boom across the country.
The baby boom has already put hospitals and doctors on alert in major
The delivery rooms in major hospitals in Shanghai have been fully
booked until March, although some are squeezing up to six expectant
mothers into a room designed for four, and will cut short the
hospitalization period .
Experts warned that irrational family planning would result in a
shortage of social resources.
Given China's large population, selective birth in so-called lucky
years may worsen the existing shortage of social resources, including
education and employment.