BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Beijing will increase the number of maternity beds citywide to cope with the new birth policy, said the municipal health bureau on Friday.
The Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress is examining an amendment to the Beijing Municipal Population and Family Planning Regulations. If the amendment is passed, the new policy is expected to start in March 2014, authorities said on Friday.
Under the new policy, couples will be allowed to have two children if one of them is an only child. Current policy only allows couples who are both only children to have two children.
The new policy will up Beijing's birth rate, which will in turn affect public services and other aspects of society and the economy, said committee member Sun Shichao.
The increase of maternity beds will lower risks to expectant mothers and infants, as the number of older pregnant women and higher risk pregnancies will increase after implementation of the new policy, said the health bureau.
In 2013, Beijing had 127 maternity institutions with 4,466 beds. The capacity of the institutions so far is 260,000 people per year.
China's family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in population growth by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two if the first child was a girl.
The policy was relaxed and its current form stipulates that both parents must be only children in order to have a second child.