China's National Health Commission has released awork plan for the nationwide promotion of painrelief during labor and delivery.
The three-year plan aims to make fewer mothersturn to C-sections to escape unbearable labor pain, thus increasing rates of natural childbirth andlowering rates of cesarean delivery.
The country's lack of pain-free natural labor was brought into the spotlight in August last year, when a 26-year-old pregnant woman in Yulin, Shaanxi, jumped to her death in a maternityward partly because she was in unbearable pain.
A number of hospitals will be chosen around the country to pilot labor pain relief servicesbetween 2018 and 2020, before they are widely promoted, according to the work plan.
By the end of 2020, more than 40% of all deliveries in the pilot hospitals will be completedwith the help of spinal or epidural anesthesia, or a combination of both.
Painless delivery is yet to become common in China due to several factors, including a shortageof anesthetists at hospitals and widespread myths surrounding labor pain relief methods.
The commission also released two norms attached to the work plan, one regarding labor painrelief operation procedures and the other in analgesia technical management.