by Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou and Zhang Yue in Beijing
BEIJING, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Inquiries from women about having a second child soared soon after the country announced its amendment to the family planning policy in early November.
To field the flood of questions, the Women's Hospital of Zhejiang University's School of Medicine opened a consultation clinic for women considering a second child on Nov 27. The clinic is the first of its kind in China since the central government adjusted its family planning policy, which will allow more couples to have two children.
Shangguan Xuejun, deputy director of the Medical Administration Department of the hospital and head of the consultation clinic, said the main function of the clinic is to provide medical advice to women about their chances of bearing a second child.
"We provide advice based on exam results," he said.
Shangguan said the clinic, which is open every Wednesday morning, receives an average of 15 patients a week.
"Most patients at this clinic are in their late 30s or even 40s. The question they ask the most is whether they are too old to conceive a baby," said Shangguan. "But as long as their health condition permits it, and their uterus and eggs are healthy, there is no limit to how old you have to be to bear a second child. They just have to be more careful during pregnancy," he said.
Shangguan said another common question is the risk of pregnancy after a Cesarean section.
"Although our hospital encourages women to deliver their babies in a natural way, many choose to have a Cesarean section because they thought it was less painful. Compared with those who gave birth naturally, women who have had C-sections before will bear higher risks in subsequent pregnancies," he said.
Lu Xiaoyan, chief resident at the Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Hefei, Anhui province, says that during the past month and a half, the number of expectant mothers who said they wanted a natural birth increased dramatically.
"Many expectant mothers require that there is a natural birth once they are admitted to the hospital," she says. "Most of them explained that this is to prepare for a second baby."
Lu explained that many women who have had C-sections have different conditions.
"If the mother had the C-section only because she was afraid of pain, then they are very likely to be able to give a natural delivery to their second child," she says "But for those who went through a C-section because she was not able to have a natural delivery, they need to have thorough checks of the uterus before and during pregnancy."
Lu, who has been an obstetrics surgeon for 30 years, says age is not a big concern for mothers who want a second child.
"The only thing is that the mother should have thorough medical examinations about her physical condition before getting pregnant, especially to make sure that she does not have any gynecological diseases," Lu says.