Birth & Midwifery in China
Resources for parents and practitioners

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Mavis Chen reports that in China, midwives cannot attend a homebirth without fear of losing their licenses. She says China’s c-section rate is very high, some areas already having surpassed 50%, though it is beginning to come down in some of the public hospitals.

In hopes of improving birth in China, Mavis began a business in 2004 training doulas. Her business now provides over 40 birth doulas in more than 20 hospitals and over 500 postpartum doulas who spend 30–42 days living in the home of the new mother and baby. She also offers birth classes for new moms. She hopes to bring more international conferences to China to help bring about greater awareness of natural birth. Mavis speaks Mandarin and English.

Goals for China [March 2011]

Great changes have taken place in China, accompanied by economic development and a rapidly improving standard of living. Looking at prospects for the next 10 years, I expect my country will change as follows:

• China’s “Only One Child” policy should be changed according to our state family planning policy. China has the largest population in the world and our family planning policies have succeeded in restraining the rapid increase of our population. However, the current average of 1.8 children for women of childbearing age is lower than the world average of 2.1, which is standard for a population to sustain development.

• Investment in public health will continue to increase. Analysts say that the expense for public health will increase 2.5 times; the average growth rate is 13.5% each year. Medical markets in rural areas are growing more quickly than in urban areas. The average expense in rural areas will increase between 16% and 25.8%; medical markets for comprehensive care of serious disease will increase 15-fold in the next 10 years.

• The government will set up a system of delivery education and policy for midwife registration. Now, more and more people want to improve the policies concerning midwife education and want to set up an independent midwife registration and certification system, which was considered by our government public health administration.

• The rate of caesarean birth will be reduced to 30%. The current rate of caesarean sections in China is about 50%. China Maternal and Child Association has started an initiative to “encourage natural childbirth, and guarantee the health of mother and children.”

• I hope my enterprise will be a leader in delivery education, have 100,000 members and 10,000 delivery teachers. They will supply midwife and doula services in different provinces in China. And I hope we will hold an international delivery meeting every two years to encourage international delivery education in China so that we can learn new information about delivery from all over the world.

Mavis Chen