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April 18, 2014

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Official warns of risks for older mothers

THE recent changes to the country’s family planning laws could create challenges for the health care industry as women opt to have children later in life, a top official said yesterday.

Women who have babies at an advanced age run a greater risk of complications and birth defects, Wang Guoqiang, deputy head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission said at a conference.

It is therefore essential that  hospitals and clinics provide comprehensive antenatal care, including screening for potential problems, he said.

There also needs to be a boost in capacity for obstetrics and midwifery services to properly care for mothers and their newborns, he said.

The government has estimated that the rule changes will lead to an additional 2 million babies being born each year. It also plans to invest 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion) to build 1,100 maternal and child health facilities during its 12th five-year program (2011-15).

China’s family planning policy was introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population. Last November, however, the government ruled that couples can have two children as long as at least one of the parents is an only child.


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