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Chinese Mothers-to-be Opt for "Lucky Days"
25/8/2006 9:51

Instead of a natural birth, many Chinese mothers-to-be opt for a caesarean section on a "lucky day".

"Eight minutes past eight, Aug. 18, 2006, that's the lucky time my mother has chosen for my caesarean section," said Zhang, a mother-to-be, before her delivery. "I hope the doctor will let the baby be born at the exact time."

So-called lucky days are often related to the Chinese number "eight", whose pronunciation is close to a word meaning "getting rich", and to other lucky numbers.

Fortune-telling, horoscopes and websites are all "reliable guides" for young pregnant women.

"I want to choose a good star sign for my child, so I'll plan the time I get pregnant," said Yang, a girl who's crazy about astrology.

Some mothers-to-be expect doctors to perform caesarean sections before August 31, which is a key date for admission to primary school in China.

"I was born on September 3, two days later than the cutoff date, so I wasn't able to go to school until I was eight, one year later than many kids my age," said Li Jia, who's expecting. "I certainly don't want my child to face the same problem in the future."

Experts, however, warn that having a caesarean section on a planned date can be detrimental to the health of both mother and baby. Some babies may catch lung diseases as well as other illnesses while mothers may face uterine complications.

Even if a pregnant woman opts for a caesarean, the date should respect nature and be close to the expected birth date, experts said.

The urge to control birth dates can lead to social problems. A lot of "millennium babies" were born in 2000, which is also considered a lucky year.

Three years later, kindergartens did not have sufficient facilities to meet the demand from "millennium babies". Seven years on, a similar situation has occurred in elementary schools.