About 15,000 couples will welcome a second child this year as a result of changes to the city’s family planning regulations, authorities said Thursday.
The effect of the law change in March — which allows couples to have a second baby if either parent is an only child — will be an extra 20,000 to 30,000 newborns per year, the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said.
In the 2014-16 period, about 200,000 babies are expected to be born each year in Shanghai, officials said. With 3,600 maternity beds, the city’s hospitals are equipped to deal with about 250,000 births per year.
While there is sufficient capacity to cope with the expected number of deliveries, the commission is keen to ensure that beds at the city’s premier maternity units are reserved for mothers in the most need.
“The city has six hospitals that have advanced equipment and facilities, and beds there will be made available for women with complicated pregnancies to ensure the safety of both mothers and babies,” commission director Shen Xiaochu said. Women whose pregnancies are straightforward should wherever possible use their local hospitals and health centers, he added, and the same principle applies to people with health issues.
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