Friday, 20 December 2013

Hospitals launch second child clinics to deal with new family planning policy

by Hu Qingyun
After striving to get up at 4 am, and starting to queue at 6:30 am in the hospital hall, Wang Juan and her husband finally secured an appointment at 10 am with a famous obstetrician at a clinic specializing in second children in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
The obstetrician asked thoroughly about Wang's health, including whether, like the majority of Chinese mothers, she gave birth to her first child through a Caesarean.
In a latest decision, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee allowed couples to have a second child as long as either the husband or the wife is from a one-child family. Previously, the policy required both to be single children.
The easing of the family planning policy delights but also worries Wang, who unlike her husband is an only child. She is the mother of a 3-year-old girl but now yearns for a second child.
"I'm 38 now. I have to consult obstetricians on whether it's OK to do so," said Wang, a white-collar employee in Hangzhou.
Many couples have similar concerns. Several hospitals have launched special departments to offer consultations on having a second child since the new policy was announced in November.
Although Chinese people have shown great desire for a larger family, medical specialists worry about the health of older mothers.
Most Chinese provinces and regions have yet to officially release new policies, but hospitals have been besieged by middle-aged couples seeking advice on new pregnancies following the announcement.
Li Jiafu, an ob/gyn specialist with the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Central China's Hubei Province, told the Global Times that the number of patients coming for consultations has doubled since the announcement.
Although second child consultation seemed to getting more popular across the country, Li still thought it was not necessary to set up special clinics.
"Such clinics offered very similar service to normal obstetrics and gynecology department in many hospitals. I think some hospitals use it as a stunt to attract more attention," Li said.
The Hangzhou-based Women's Hospital with the School of Medicine of Zhejiang University launched the first "second child clinic" in China on November 27, only 12 days after the CPC announced its reform decision.
The clinic is open for half a day a week and the specialists would only meet 15 to 20 parents in order to ensure quality service, a staff member from the publicity department of the hospital told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.
Due to a limited number of appointments and increasing patients, people have to start to queue in the small hours of the morning, and the consultation costs 50 yuan ($8.20) each time, the staff member said.
"Doctors ask various details about the patients' lifestyle and health condition, which are related to their potential pregnancy and childbirth, even including whether they have dogs," she added.
Following the lead of the hospital in Hangzhou, a hospital in Jinhua, another city in Zhejiang Province, also set up a similar clinic on December 4, which is open from Monday to Friday.
Central China's Hunan Province opened its first such clinic in Changsha Maria Maternity Hospital on December 8, and claimed that it would "customize" the pregnant plan for each patient.
Source: Global Times

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