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Auspicious year prompts baby boom

Year of the Dragon prompts national rush to give birth

Mothers and babies in a hospital corridor in Ho Chi Minh City Mothers and babies in a hospital corridor in Ho Chi Minh City
  • ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam
  • July 25, 2012
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Pham Thu Trang is delighted to be seven months pregnant. “We decided to have a baby this year, even though I suffer from diabetes and doctors have advised against it,” says the 32-year-old magazine editor.

She chose to disregard the doctors’ advice because, in the Vietnamese lunar calendar, this is Nham Thin - the Year of the Dragon.

“This year means good luck,” says Trang, who lives with her husband in Ho Chi Minh City. “Babies, especially sons who are born this year will be rich or successful in their lives. In my home town of Vinh Long, people born in the dragon year are now successful business people or rich farmers.”

According to the calendar, only one year in 12 falls under the dragon symbol, so Trang is by no means the only woman in Vietnam eager to give birth at this time.

“My husband and I deliberately set out to get me pregnant before our wedding last year,” says one 25-year-old who would only give the name of Hanh. “His relatives were very unhappy about me being pregnant before our wedding but I’m happy I’ve had a baby boy this year.”

Another mother, Ngoc Ly, had a baby girl by Caesarean section in April. “I had to share a bed with another mother in the corridor of the hospital, because so many women were there to give birth,” she says.

Her experience is borne out by the Health Ministry, which reports that more than 500,000 babies were born in the first five months of the year, a substantial 13.5 percent increase on last year.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Viet Tien, has confirmed that the Year of the Dragon is the cause of the baby boom, adding that many couples have stopped using contraceptives.

But government spokesman Nguyen Van Tan has issued a note of warning. “This population explosion puts great pressure on our social services,” he says. “Hospitals are overstretched and babies may not get the proper care and medical treatment."

Related reports:

Authorities address childbirth deaths
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