China’s maternity matrons gird for mini-baby boom

Photos by Ng Han Guan

Now that China has abandoned its decades-long one-child policy, demand for maternity services is expected to grow as women take advantage of the chance to have a second child. Some of those women will be older than average and will have special health needs.

A school in Beijing, the Li Ming Maternity Service Company, is anticipating this trend by offering new training for high-end maternity matron services.

It is common practice in China for women to spend a month in bed after giving birth. During this time, middle- and upper-class families often use maternity matrons to help out, caring for both mother and baby and arranging meals up to six times a day.

The maternity service company’s general manager, Cui Jingwen, says an experienced maternity matron can earn up to 15,000 yuan (about $2,300) a month.

For 35 years, China’s family planning policy limited most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two if their first was a girl — until the policy was relaxed in October to allow parents to have two children.

Due to that change, demographics expert Huang Wenzheng says China may see more than 2 million extra births next year.

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Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: China’s maternity matrons gird for mini-baby boom, by Ng Han Guan. Associated Press videojournalist Thomas Suen contributed to this report.


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