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Maternity wards are already booked out for Year of the Monkey

Going ape for the new year

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Who wants to be a sheep? This past year, Chinese couples have been playing mahjong, decorating, suffering headaches – anything to put off having a baby until it could be safely born after this Year of the Ram, making their babies monkeys not sheep, who are said to have a lifetime of bad luck.

The predicted baby boom is causing problems for hospitals in Beijing, with many reporting to be fully booked already for the first half of this year.

The little monkeys will also have siblings to play with in the future, as couples take advantage of the city’s two-child policy. Around 50,000 couples have been granted permission to have a second child.

The Beijing Youth Daily has broken down the age ranges of applicants for a second child. They report that 798 applications have come from couples where the mother is between 41 and 45 years old, and 96 applications granted for mothers 46 and over. The most common age range is 31-35, which makes up 57 percent of permissions.

The hospitals are gearing up, building on their experience of the most recent bumper year – the Year of the Horse in 2014 – but are having to turn away expectant parents who have not yet registered.