The number of new born babies in HCM City in the first days of the new lunar year increased over the same period last year because the Year of Cat is considered a lucky year, doctors say.

In the Tu Du Hospital's Obstetrics Ward in District 1, there was no bed left vacant on Feb. 11 and some pregnant women even had to lie outside.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thom of District 6 was anxious about not having a bed after giving birth to her baby in a day or two. Her husband had booked the bed two days in advance, but as of on Feb. 11 she'd not been assigned one.

Dr. Le Quang Thanh, head of the hospital's General Planning Office, also said that the number of newborns is likely to increase this year.

Since people believe that the preceding lunar year, the Year of the Tiger, is not an auspicious time for babies to be born, many couples chose to wait for the Year of the Cat, Thanh explained.

Last year, the number of newborns had decreased by 30 percent over 2009, he said.

In Obstetrics Ward of the city's University Medical Centre in Tan Binh district, 135 babies were born since February 3.

Nguyen Van Anh, head of the ward, said that in the days before Tet, around 20 babies were born each day, but the number has risen to 25 since.

At the Hung Vuong Hospital , 100 babies were born per day in the first days of this month compared to 80 babies in previous months.

According to the city's Department of Health, 447 babies were born in the first three days of this lunar year (February 3-5).

Doctors in the city hospitals said the number of pregnant women visiting obstetric wards for checking up on their foetus had increased significantly in January and first weeks of February.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong of the Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital said they admitted around 1,000 pregnant women in the first days after the Lunar New Year.

Hospital records show that 72,000 pregnant women visited the hospital in January, an increase of 19,000 over the same period last year, Phuong said. Of these, 40 percent came from the city's neigbouring provinces, she added./.