Mon, Jan 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Fewer babies born on holidays

RATIONAL APPROACH Surgeons are no longer being inundated with requests to perform caesarian sections on New Year's Day and other `auspicious' holidays, they say

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

At a press conference held to welcome the first baby to be born in the new year at Taiwan Adventist Hospital, doctors said that what used to be a trend towards increased numbers of births on national holidays and New Year's Day is now changing rapidly.

Baby boy Huang, born at 7:07am on New Year's Day weighing a healthy 3.6kg, was just one of two babies to be born at the hospital as of press time yesterday.

Asked what his sentiments were regarding the birth of his son, father Huang said that he hadn't expected the baby to be born on New Year's, as the delivery date had been predicted to be Jan. 6, but that he was "very happy about it."

"I don't really know what expectations I have for my son. I just want him to be healthy and happy," he said.

Stable pattern

Staff members said that they expected seven or eight more deliveries to be made throughout the day. This pattern has been stable for the past few years with seven births taking place in 2004, and eight last year, the same as on any normal day at Taiwan Adventist hospital.

The head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the hospital, Jou Hei-jen (周輝政) said: "In the past there used to be increased requests for caesarian sections to be performed on New Year's Day and on public holidays, such as the birthday of Chiang Kai-shek. Nowadays many people probably don't know even know what day Oct. 31 is."

Compared to a peak of seven or eight requests for caesarian section operations to be performed on public holidays in the past, only one request was made yesterday.

According to Jou, the current trend in birth rate patterns is an ebb in births in June with peaks occurring in September and November-December. Jou said that births in November-December were 20 percent higher compared to the rest of the year.

Lunar calendar

"Very often people may choose when to give birth based on the Chinese Lunar calendar. The peak in births in September is probably to do with parents wanting their children to make it in time for the beginning of the school year," Jou said.

According to Jou, the peak in births towards the end of year is also to do with the peak in the number of weddings occurring during the year-end of the previous year.

In Chinese culture there is a saying which goes, "Whether you are rich or poor, take a bride in order to have a good new year." Jou said that this year in particular, there was an increased number of births just before and after Christmas. Compared to an average of seven to eight births a day, 14 to 15 births took place during this period.

"I suspect this might be related to the aftermath of Christmas party celebrations and excessive celebrating," Jou joked.

Jou said that expecting mothers were as a rule encouraged to exercise to make giving birth easier and that excessive activity occurring during party celebrations may produce the same effect.

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