Year of Dragon means Year of Many Babies

Big baby boom in 2000 because it's a "lucky" year in Chinese tradition

You thought the race for the first baby of the millennium was something, just wait; the baby boom isn't over just yet. In fact, it may be just beginning. The Year 2000 is the "Year of the Dragon" which is regarded by Chinese as the luckiest time to have a child in the 12-year Chinese astrological calendar.

Taiwanese officials expect at least a 20 percent increase in the number of births this year. Total births are estimated to increase to 380,000 this year from the past high of 320,000. In Singapore, a 10-15 percent increase in the new baby population is expected. Ethnic Chinese account for more than 75 percent of Singapore's population.

"Even though we are quite westernized, a lot of us still have got these links to our heritage, " Loke Hong Leng, with Children's Hospital in Kandang Kerbau, told the Associated Press.

In overpopulated China and in Hong Kong officials don't want to comment on their expectations. However, several obstetricians said they expect more deliveries during the dragon year.

``The belief that dragon babies shall excel is so deep rooted that we gave up any efforts to try to dampen the fever,''Huang Hsu-ming, an official in Taiwan's Health Department told the Associated Press. ``All we can do is to ask hospitals to get prepared for the boom.''

About the only thing stopping women from wanting a baby born this year is the fear that too many children will be born and therefore, there would be a lot of competition in the future in school and when looking for jobs. In fact, Hong Kong is just now catching up with the baby boom from 12 years ago-the last Year of the Dragon. Schools are beginning to expand junior high class sizes to accommodate those children.

Another downfall of having a baby this year is the crowds expected at physician's offices. The baby boom may force doctors to further curtail the time they spend on giving expectant moms checkups. Right now they only get about three minutes because the doctors are so rushed. With more babies on the way, this time may be cutback even further.

The expected baby boom is a complete opposite from two years ago during theYear of the Tiger. Many women avoided pregnancy in 1998 because a tiger baby is considered rebellious. The story is much different this year when some astrologers say a baby will have the best luck if it is born in the middle of the dragon year when gold; one of five elements in earth; dominates.

The Year of the Dragon officially starts on February 5, 2000. As we know from the millennium baby boom...women have until mid April to get pregnant and give birth before the end of the year. April 9, 1999 was the date to get pregnant and have a millennium baby or the due date be January 1, 2000.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 1/6/2000

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