Beijing will have more than half a million extra births in the next few years because of the recently adopted national two-child policy.
The birth rush will bring challenges to public services in Beijing, such as maternal health, baby nurseries and kindergarten education, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.
The policy has made another 2.36 million couples who are permanent residents in Beijing eligible to have a second baby, the commission said on Thursday.
The policy, which encourages all couples in China to have two children to ease problems such as a shrinking workforce and aging population, was adopted nationwide on Jan 1 after being approved by the National People’s Congress in December. About 90 million Chinese couples will be eligible to have a second child under the policy.
It is predicted that 580,000 extra babies will be born in Beijing between 2017 and 2021, which will bring the total number of births between 2017 and 2021 in Beijing to 300,000 annually on average, the commission said.
The birth rush will diminish within three to five years and will end after 2021, the commission said.
Most of the couples newly eligible to have a second baby under the universal two-child policy are those born after 1970. It is predicted that, considering their ages, most who want a second baby will finish childbirth by 2021, said Yao Tienan, a publicity official at the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.
More than 61,000 couples in Beijing applied to have a second baby after the city allowed couples where only one was an only child to have a second baby, a measure initiated in February 2014, the commission said.
The Beijing government will work on challenges brought by the birth peak, such as improving distribution of medical and educational resources, helping the development of grassroots hospitals and encouraging hospitals to reduce C-sections so the length of childbirth stays in hospital can be reduced, the commission said.
Chao Wei, a publicity official at the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, said the hospital has been preparing for the birth peak.
“The number of patients has been increasing since late last year, and we predict a big increase this year,” he said.
Chao said the hospital has opened special clinics since Monday to help patients see doctors in the evening. The clinics run Monday to Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm, he said.
The hospital has also prepared itself to receive more older pregnant women, who suffer higher risks when giving birth, and has increased the number of beds for newborns suffering critical diseases, he said.