By Cai Wenjun | 2013-1-18 | ONLINE EDITION
MAJOR maternity hospitals are now able to admit pregnant women without restrictions as each of the city's three top maternity hospitals have added 100 new beds, reducing VIP beds and renovating offices into wards.
Previously, big hospitals had to set daily limits for newly registered pregnant women due to bed shortages. The measure caused many complaints, especially last year, as couples wanted to receive prenatal checks and deliver their babies at the bigger maternity hospitals.
The city has been experiencing a baby boom since 2006. Since 2007, upwards of 160,000 babies have been born in the city annually. About 220,000 children were born last year, 40,000 more than the previous year.
More children are being born to couples eligible to have a second child, and the number of migrant people is rising, population officials explained.
To ease the bed shortage, the Shanghai Health Bureau requested in July that each of the three city-level maternity hospitals add 100 beds.
Since removing the restriction, the satisfaction of pregnant women with services has risen, according to Li Xiaotian, vice president of Maternity and Child Hospital of Fudan University.
Local health officials also suggest healthy pregnant women without any complications go to nearby district-level maternity hospitals or general hospitals, instead of going to crowded maternity hospitals.
The city has 81 hospitals that offer maternity services and their combined beds are enough to meet local demand if all pregnant women use nearby hospitals, said the bureau.
Officials said Shanghai has a patient transfer system and pregnant women with high-risk complications will be sent to advanced hospitals, ensuring everyone has access to the best medical resources in case of an emergency.