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Pregnancy numbers to be released to help couples time delivery

LOCAL health authorities will release the number of applications from eligible couples to have a second child and the number of registered pregnant women and newborn babies every month to help couples with their timing to avoid peak delivery times.

About 20,000 to 30,000 more babies a year are expected to be born of couples with only one spouse from a one-child family, and the city has started to prepare maternal services, health care and education capacity for the change, officials said today.

"The second child from eligible couples is considered legal if delivered starting March 1, including women who have been pregnant," said Zhang Meixing from the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission. "Those delivered before March 1 can't benefit from the new policy."

Shanghai is facing a seriously unbalanced population structure with too few children and a large number of elderly. The new policy will help ease the tendency toward an aging society, officials said.

Children below 14 years old account for only 8.8 percent of the registered population, while those over 60 account for 25.7 percent.


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