China's National Health Commission has released a work plan for the nationwide promotion of pain relief methods during labor and delivery.
The three-year plan aims to make fewer mothers turn to caesarean sections to escape unbearable labor pain, thus increasing rates of natural childbirth and lowering rates of cesarean delivery.
Painless delivery is yet to become common in China due to several factors, including a shortage of anesthetists at hospitals and widespread myths surrounding labor pain relief methods.
A number of pilot hospitals will be chosen around the country between 2018 and 2020 to normalize and improve labor pain relief, before it is widely promoted, according to the work plan.
It demanded the hospitals to set up specialized teams for labor pain management, strengthen training for medical staff, as well as offer personnel, facilities and other necessary support for such pain relief services.
The plan also called for improved education via books, media and internet for expectant mothers and their families so they can better understand and accept labor pain relief.
The commission also released two norms attached to the work plan, one regarding labor pain relief operation procedures and the other in analgesia technical management.