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Survey suggests postpartum services need reboot

The postpartum rehabilitation market is expected to boom, and healthcare facilities are expected to play a crucial role in the transition from the Chinese traditional custom ofzuo yue zi, or "postpartum confinement" to modern postpartum rehabilitation, according to a recently released white paper on the issue.


A tutor shows students how to care for a baby during training classes for neonatal nurses in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

On Friday United Family Healthcare, a leading private healthcare provider, released the paper, which was mainly based on a survey covering 11,000 Chinese women of reproductive age nationwide. The survey was jointly conducted by UFH and Babytree, a leading Chinese website on maternity and child health.

It is estimated the number of babies delivered in China is approaching 17 million per year, and the number of Chinese households with postpartum care demands is approximately 2.4 million per year, according to Yang Lei, a researcher with the Babytree user research unit.

"Women undergo significant physical changes and mood swings due to fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and childbirth," said Qin Xinyan, chief medical officer of UFH's postpartum rehabilitation sector.

"New mothers need not only attention and support from family, but also professional help in maternity, rehabilitation and nutrition, among many other needs."

China should promote science-based postpartum rehabilitation practices, because the traditional practices cannot fully meet the needs of women, and some practices are even unhealthy, Qin said.

In the paper, the China Maternal and Child Health Association and UFH jointlyasked postpartum rehabilitation facilities to achieve a set of goals, such as ensuring a more than 50 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate each month, conducting depression screening tests for new mothers every month, and reducing the incidence rate of mastitis — inflammation of the mammary gland — among new mothers and umbilical cord infection in newborns to less than 5 percent per month.

New mothers should choose service providers based on such standards, the paper said.

Chen Ziquan, president of the association, said science-based postpartum rehabilitation is different from traditional customs, and healthcare facilities that have specialized equipment and medical professionals who work in accordance with a strict code of conduct can better ensure quality care for new mothers and newborns.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents thought postpartum confinement is necessary, and 14 percent of women, who are more likely to have higher education and older age, would seek professional postpartum rehabilitation service, according to the paper.

Restoring their physical strength, improving breastfeeding and reducing postpartum pain and discomfort are among the top three reasons why women seek postpartum care, and more than 40 percent of respondents said they feel "depressed" and "irritated" mainly because of the lack of care and support from family.

About 83 percent of people are willing to pay in the range of 50,000 ($7,320) to 100,000 yuan for postpartum rehabilitation care, depending on service quality and safety. Twenty-two percent of respondents in first-tier cities said they could accept a price higher than 100,000 yuan, according to the survey.

Source:China Daily  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Survey suggests postpartum services need reboot)