Mothers Rush To Have C-Sections Before School Enrollment Deadline

As many North American parents debate the merits of holding back their December babies one school year so that they won’t lag behind, it’s a whole other dilemma in China. Or non-dilemma, it seems. The country has reported a huge spike in elective c-sections this week as mothers rushed to give birth before the deadline for school enrollment (which, in China, is August 31).

Babies born after August 31 must wait another year to begin their schooling. And, as Agence France-Presse reports, many Chinese families are eager to begin their children’s formal education as soon as possible. While no nationwide figures were available, hospitals around the country reported sharp increases, according to the article. In one municipality in the southern province of Fujian, there was a rise in c-sections of more than 50 percent. And in Zhanjiang city, a major hospital reported 30 caesarian births between August 29-31, compared to just 12 natural births.

“Since last week the numbers of [caesarean] operations has gone up,” said Fu Jiahong, director of maternity at a hospital in the Chengdu province. “Every year it is like this. Many women want their children to go to school as early as possible.”

In China, mothers can choose to have a c-section no matter what their medical status; the country actually has the highest rate of c-section deliveries, with nearly half of all babies born that way. It’s ironic, really. When it comes to education, many families are anxious to get their kids into school as early as possible presumably to give them an edge. But recent studies have shown that there’s an increased risk of complications when babies are born before the 39-week mark. In fact, just last month, March of the Dimes launched a campaign, called “Healthy babies are worth the wait,” that encourages women to carry their babies to full term.

(Photo: iStockphoto)

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