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Moms in China are having C-sections to avoid bad luck 'Sheep babies'

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Why some women are scrambling to give birth before the Chinese New Year

There will be a lot of kids born today in China and far fewer born over the next year, as moms try to avoid having babies during the bad-luck Year of the Sheep.

Moms in China are heading to the hospital in droves as they try to avoid having their babies after Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 19. Why? Because this will begin the Year of the Sheep — it's felt that those born during this time will have a lifetime of bad luck, and who wants that?

The Chinese zodiac is taken seriously enough that it's affecting birth plans, as doctors in the country report that hospitals have been flooded with moms hoping for an induction or C-section before the Year of the Horse ends. Also, if past "Sheep years" are any indication, there may be a 30 percent (or more) drop in births over the next year, which will end on Feb. 7, 2016.

Even though those born under the Sheep are considered to be kind and popular, when combined with the wood element (which happens every 60 years, including this year), there are a few other attributes to consider. Being peaceful, helpful and trusting are all good things, but being weak and clingy are decidedly not all that great.

When you consider that many Chinese parents believe you take on characteristics of your zodiac sign, it begins to make sense. Many moms in China simply believe that the Sheep year is bad luck, and they don't want their kids to be any part of it.

Astrology in the U.S. is considered entertainment by many. Sure, some take it seriously, but how many people do you know who would avoid having a baby under a certain sign because they feel it's bad luck? These people are probably very few and far between. It's fascinating that the culture in China is so different from what we experience in the U.S., to the point that there may be 30 percent fewer births because of it.

Would you consider scheduling an induction to avoid a bad-luck birth year for your child? Or even more significant, an elective C-section? It's hard to say what I'd do, given that my cultural background doesn't include serious superstitions such as these, but I would like to imagine I'd roll with it and not put myself or my baby at risk to avoid the Year of the Sheep.

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