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close this bookThe Impact of Economic Development on Rural Women in China (UNU, 1993, 85 pages)
close this folder3. Analysis of the field survey findings
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document3.1 Changes in women's formal education
View the document3.2 Adult education for woman
View the document3.3 The impact of economic development on rural women's occupational structure
View the document3.4 The impact of economic development on rural women's income
View the document3.5 Changes in the marriage situation
View the document3.6 Home relocation
View the document3.7 Childbirth, family planning, and mother and child health care
View the document3.8 Family structure
View the document3.9 Family relationships
View the document3.10 Intergenerational relations of elderly women
View the document3.11 Leisure time
View the document3.12 Changes in women's value concepts, aspirations, and ideals

3.7 Childbirth, family planning, and mother and child health care

3. 7.1 Infant survival and mortality rates

The survival rates for babies born to women of the three age cohorts were as follows:

- elderly cohort, 71.7%,
- middle-age cohort, 90.5%,
- young cohort, 93.6%.

The mortality rates for babies within six months after birth were:

- elderly cohort, 12.8%,
- middle-age cohort, 6.2%,
- young cohort, 5.6%.

The improvement is attributable to economic growth and the improvement of people's living standards in general, and the development of mother and child health care in particular. In pre-liberation times, poor sanitary conditions and unsterilized midwifery caused high infant mortality from tetanus. After liberation, while transforming old-type midwives, the health departments trained a large number of modern midwives and primary health workers to serve the rural areas. Meanwhile, drinking water and environmental sanitation have been improved, and health protection measures for children such as planned immunization have been carried out step by step in the rural areas. Since then, infant mortality has steadily declined.

(See tables 3.17-3.20 for other data on the birth and survival of children.)

Table 3.18 Pregnancies and birth statuses


Elderly

Middle-age

Young


No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Hengtang

Live births

707

88.1

336

80.4

53

73.6

Stillbirths

21

2.6

4

0.9

2

2.8

Abortions

43

5.4

53

12.7

17

23.6

Miscarriages

31

3.9

25

6.0

0

0

TOTAL PREGNANCIES

802

100

418

100

72

100

Jiahong

Live births

733

90.4

390

74.7

76

73.8

Stillbirths

20

2.4

9

1.7

0

0

Abortions

8

1.0

104

19.9

21

20.4

Miscarriages

50

6.2

19

3.7

6

5.8

TOTAL PREGNANCIES

811

100

522

100

103

100

3.7.2 Family planning

The frequency of pregnancy among the women surveyed has declined as a result of family planning. (See table 3.21.) The average and maximum number of pregnancies for each age cohort were as follows:

- elderly cohort, average 6.7, maximum 14;
- middle-age cohort, average 3.8, maximum 9;
- young cohort, average 1.3, maximum 4.

Table 3.19 Duration Of life Of Children home by the Women surveyed


Elderly

Middle-age

Young


No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Hengtang

Died within 6 months

92

13.0

18

5.4

3

6.0

Died at 6-12 months

13

1.8

1

0.3

0

0

Died at 1-5 Years

52

7.4

6

1.8

0

0

Died at 5-18 years

7

1.0

1

0.3

0

0

Living

544

76.8

307

92.2

47

94.0

TOTAL

708

100

333

100

50

100

Jiahong

Died within 6 months

93

12.6

27

6.9

4

5.3

Died at 6-12 months

38

5.2

1

0.3

0

0

Died at 1-5 years

90

12.2

11

2.8

1

1.3

Died at 5-18 years

24

3.3

4

1.0

0

0

Living

490

66.7

349

89.0

71

93.4

TOTAL

735

100

392

100

76

100

In Hengtang 97.6% of the women in the middle-aged cohort and 76.8% in the young cohort practiced birth control; in Jiahong the figures were 90% and 57% respectively (table 3.22). The rates for the young cohort were low because some of the newly married women had no children yet at the time of the survey.

The most popular contraceptive used in the two townships is the IUD; some women have had tubal ligation, and some men have had vasectomy (table 3.23). When an IUD fails, abortion is resorted to. There is a need for improving the efficacy of contraceptive devices.

Table 3.20 Causes of children's deaths


Elderly

Middle-age

Young


No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Hengtang

Disease

144

88.3

20

71.4

3

75.0

Accident

3

1.8

1

3.6

1

25.0

Hunger

3

1.8

0

0

0

0

Cold

5

3.1

7

25.0

0

0

Other causes

8

5.0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

163

100

28

100

4

100

Jiahong

Disease

213

87.3

29

70.8

4

80.0

Accident

0

0

1

2.4

1

20.0

Hunger

10

4.1

1

2.4

0

0

Cold

20

8.2

8

19.5

0

0

Other causes

1

0.4

2

4.9

0

0

TOTAL

244

100

41

100

5

100

Table 3.21 Frequency of pregnancy


Hengtang

Jiahong


Av

Max

Min

Av

Max

Min

Elderly

6.5

14

0

6.9

14

1

Middle-age

3.3

6

0

4.4

9

0

Young

1.3

4

0

1.3

4

0

Table 3.22 Proportion of women practicing birth control


Elderly

Middle-age

Young


No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Hengtang

Practicing

65

52.4

122

97.6

43

76.8

Not practicing

59

47.6

3 2.4

13

23.2


Jiahong

Practicing

12

10.1

108

90.0

45

57.0

Not practicing

107

89.9

12

10.0

34

43.0

Table 3.23 Contraceptive methods used


Elderly

Middle-age

Young


No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Hengtang

Oral contraceptive

5

7.7

7

5.8

4

9.3

IUD

50

76.9

38

31.1

36

83.7

Tubal ligation

10

15.4

77

63.1

2

4.7

Other methods

0

0

0

0

1

2.3

TOTAL

65

100

122

100

43

100

Jiahong

IUD

6

50.0

27

25.0

43

95.6

Tubal ligation

0

0

13

12.0

1

2.2

Vasectomy

3

25.0

65

60.2

0

0

Safe period

0

0

0

0

1

2.2

Other methods

3

25.0

3

2.8

0

0

TOTAL

12

100

108

100

45

100

3.7.3 Changing views on childbearing

Present government population policy encourages late marriage, late pregnancy, fewer children, eugenics, and the practice of one child for each couple. Though the idea of having only one child runs counter to the Chinese traditional belief that more children mean more blessing, the new policy finds general acceptance in the two townships. This is the result of intensive publicity work and mother and child health measures that make the overwhelming majority of the people understand and support family planning. The old preference for having many children is waning. It is especially easier for the women in the middle-age and elderly cohorts to accept the idea of family planning because almost all of them had a difficult time bringing up many children with a low family income. They are now convinced that with fewer children, mothers not only can concentrate more on production and increasing family income but can take better care of their own health and their children's and give them better education. But most people accept the idea of one child for each couple because they understand that China has a big population but a poor economic base and insufficient arable land. The only way out is to control the growth of the population. Actually most couples would like to have two children-a son and a daughter. They settle for one child out of consideration for the nation's overall interest.