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Year of the Dragon Babies

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! With the new lunar year upon us, the rabbit has hopped away and the dragon has taken his place. And according to the BBC, Chinese parents are expected to pay more for maternity services in the coming year due to the fertility boom inspired by couples who are eager to give birth in the auspicious Year of the Dragon. In Hong Kong, the government expects the 2012 birthrate to be up by 5% from the previous year, while doctors and academics believe that the figure may be as high as 10%.

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Companies selling formula, diapers and strollers are the obvious beneficiaries of the “dragon baby” surge. But specialist service providers are also expected to cash-in. In Chinese tradition, a woman’s body is most vulnerable after birth and as such, it is recommended that she enter a period of confinement for one month to ensure her recovery. BBCare, a Hong Kong agency that largely refers postnatal care nurses to expecting families, predicts a 20% growth in their revenue this year. Average hourly rates have already risen by 15% and enquires have gone up by 25%. The company believes that with such a busy year ahead, there may be a shortage of postnatal care workers.

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And it isn’t just babies! Couples are headed to the altar to tie the knot in this prosperous year, which could give a boost to property markets as the newlyweds search for homes to settle down in. But while some couples are stimulating the economy by going on a spending spree, there is also concern that the baby boom will put strain on public services in certain cities.

Did you keep the zodiac in mind – Chinese or Western – when you were trying to conceive? What is the most you are willing to do to guarantee that your child is born as a certain sign?

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