A new survey has found that pregnant women in China are giving cash to doctors so that they receive better care during childbirth.
The study involving 1,227 pregnant women and mothers with children aged 1 to 6 years showed that 24 percent of the mums gave hongbao (red envelopes with money) to the doctors and the envelopes contained an average of about 620 yuan, reports the China Daily.
Wang Zaoxia, a mother of a one-month-old baby from Taiyuan, capital city of Shanxi province, said that giving money to doctors before the birth of a baby has become a common phenomena.
"I gave 1,500 yuan to the doctor and 500 yuan to the anesthetist before giving birth, which is relatively expensive because I had difficulty giving birth and had to accept cesarean section," she said.
During her delivery, she hardly felt any pain because the anesthetist gave her a better anesthetic, she said. Also, the doctor stitched her wound very carefully.
However, one of her friends suffered great pain when she gave birth, and she said she believes this might have been because she did not give the doctors money, added Zaoxia.
In China, giving red eggs, a symbol of Chinese gratitude, to doctors, family and friends after a baby's birth, is a traditional custom.
But now the gifts to doctors often come before the birth.
"Parents have the right to give money or gifts to thank doctors for a smooth delivery," said Qin Jiong, professor with the department of pediatrics from No 1 Hospital of Peking University.
However, doctors should not receive the money, he said.
The survey was conducted by domestic child rearing website Babytree.com and supported by market intelligence solutions provider Global Market Insite Inc, (GMI).