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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Luxury maternity care centers expect baby boom

(Xinhua)

09:01, February 21, 2012

SHANGHAI, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Featuring amenities like those found in five-star hotels, luxury maternity care centers are gaining favor in big Chinese cities.

Catering to well-heeled families able to afford the high prices, they support the Chinese practice of confinement periods for new mothers. And they are expected to see further growth in 2012, many women racing to give birth in the auspicious Year of the Dragon in the belief that a lifetime of good fortune will be conveyed on their child.

Statistics from Chinese health care associations shows there are around 200 maternity care centers in the country, at least 30 of them in Shanghai.

Between five and ten percent of new mothers in Shanghai's downtown areas would choose to enter a maternity care center, according to a survey by the association of domestic services of Shanghai.

Xu Wen was one such Shanghainese willing to pay up. After giving birth to her baby, the white-collar worker moved to the city's Youaibei maternity care center, where she was charged 59,800 yuan (about 9,496 U.S. dollars), about a quarter of her family's annual income, for a one-month stay.

The Youaibei center, located in a high-end hotel in Pudong district, has more than 60 suites, providing service packages priced from tens of thousands to more than one million yuan. The most expensive is a 406-sq-meter two-story suite for which there is a charge of 1.18 million yuan for a 28-day stay.

The center offers baby care services including feeding, cleaning and massage, and mothers are provided with round-the-clock medical care, specially prepared meals, body recovery exercises and a set of leisure facilities such as swimming, gym and tennis.

"It's quite worthwhile, for childbirth is a once-in-a-life-time experience for me. It's just like an investment in health," Xu says, adding that the center is staffed with professional maternity coaches who can take very good care of her and the baby.

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