Chinese mothers urged to keep it real

Updated: 2013-09-03 22:42

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

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Ever since the World Health Organization announced China has the highest Caesarean section rate in the world in 2010, health authorities, hospitals and medical professionals have been trying to reduce the prevalence of C-section in China, experts say.

Health authorities have established high natural birth rates as a key factor for performance evaluation of top-level hospitals, and some hospitals have been offering incentives to doctors and nurses for carrying out natural deliveries.

On Aug 24, with support from local health authorities, Beijing HarMoniCare Women and Children's Hospital, a private hospital in Beijing, launched a program to promote natural birth.

"It is important to raise social awareness on the benefits of natural birth, and encourage hospitals to choose natural delivery over C-section," says Zhang Rui, deputy director with Chaoyang district's health bureau at the launching ceremony of the program.

In the following seven months, the hospital will provide would-be mothers who are interested in its program detailed information to ensure they will be able to give birth naturally.

Doctors in the hospital, including obstetricians, endocrinologists and nutritionists, will examine the pregnant women and then prescribe them tailored food and exercise guidance, to reduce indications of Caesarean section.

They also provide mothers-to-be psychological consulting.

The hospital plans to engage 300 would-be mothers into the program, who can also get a discount and extra service award if they control their weight and the babies' weights well enough.

Yang Ying, director with obstetrics and gynecology department of Xinqiao Hospital in Chongqing, says many small and private hospitals discourage patients who want to have natural birth in order to make greater profits.

He says he hopes more people will learn that natural births are usually better than C-section, and make decisions that are best for both mothers and babies.