With the beginning of the luckiest Chinese lunar year, the year of the Dragon, China expects a dragon baby boom.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon is considered the most auspicious sign as it is the only zodiac sign represented by a mythical character.
According to Chinese tradition, Dragon babies - those born in the year of the Dragon - are believed to be blessed with good fortune, luck, power and strength. And so many couples plan to have their children during the lunar year or Dragon year.
Couples are also believed to conceive until about May 2 so that their babies will be born in the Year of the Dragon.
Hospitals across Asia, and especially in China, are bracing for a baby boom this year. But beds in the Chinese capital's Maternity Hospital are fully booked until August and nannies in Beijing and neighboring Tianjin have hiked their rates, The Telegraph reported.
Expectant mothers in Hong Kong are struggling to find an empty bed in maternity wards. Every year many expectant mothers from mainland China travel to Hong Kong to give birth.
In 2010, countries with large ethnic Chinese population such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have experienced baby booms. According to official data, during the last Dragon year, Hong Kong saw a more than 5 percent increase in the number of births.
Last month, Xinhua reported that China was expecting a 5 percent increase in the number of babies in 2012.
According to Associated Press, in Taiwan, the birth rate in 1999 jumped from 1.5 births per woman to 1.7 births per woman.
However, other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau are expecting an increase in birth rates this year.