Prague - Europe is said to be dying out with the Czech Republic being no exception. But if you visit Prague´s birth clinics, you would get a different picture. Almost all of them claim they are overcrowded; some have even stopped to admit pregnant women who would like to give birth.
One of the biggest hospitals in Prague, Thomayerova nemocnice (Thomayer´s hospital), refuses to admit soon-to-be mothers who will give birth earlier than in January 2009.
"We are warning mothers that until 6 January 2009 our capacity is full and for that reason we cannot admin any more mothers for the moment," says the warning at their website.
Other maternity hospitals report problems with handling the growing numbers of pregnant women as well. In Motol´s hospital´s maternity department 3,000 mothers give birth every year. In Podolí´s hospital it was 4,500 mothers last year.
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A number of hospitals have taken a rather unpopular step - mothers that want to give birth have to register in their hospital as early as in the 12 - 13th week of pregnancy.
"We have to require registration, as we don't want to lower the standard and comfort of the mothers who give birth in our hospital. Even now they have to wait a bit longer to see their child then they used to before," said Motol´s hospital doctor Tomáš Binder.
The registration is required in two major hospitals - Podolí and U Apolináře.
Podolí´s hospital spokesperson Vlastimil Lenz says the registration is welcomed by the doctors too. "They know now how many births they will assist to and can plan things much better." The monthly limit in Podolí´s hospital is 380 mothers.
Childbirths in the country are steadily on the rise, reaching 114,500 in 2007. The total fertility rate rose to 1.44 children per woman in childbearing age.
With 104,500 deaths, the overall increase of "new" Czechs in 2007 was the biggest in 25 years.