Second-child baby boom strains Chinese hospitals

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Reservations for expectant moms at Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital have been fully booked since April, the Beijing Morning Post reported Friday.

The number of newborns in the capital is expected to increase by 40,000 to 50,000 annually following China’s loosening of its family planning policy late last year, allowing couples to have two children if one parent is an only child.

Many obstetrical departments are now overstretched and face staff and equipment shortages as numbers of pregnant women increase.

Occupancy of obstetric beds in triple-A hospitals in Beijing has reached 110 percent, with extra temporary beds required.

Beijing is not the only city juggling resources. According to a report 29 provinces had implemented the new policy by July.

An estimated 140 to 150 million couples in China have only one child, and about 65 percent may want a second, said Zhai Zhenwu, dean of the School of Sociology and Population Studies of Renmin University of China.

According to Zhai, around 90 million babies could be born within five years.

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