Emergency centers for expectant mothers in critical condition will be established across China this year, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said.
At least 30 obstetric beds are required in each center at county level for a handling capacity of no less than 2,000 deliveries per year, according to a guideline issued by the NHFPC.
The move, aiming to shore up maternal health, delivery safety and management capabilities, was needed due to delayed marriage and pregnancy increasing nationwide, partly due to a surge in second child births by women aged 35 and above, thanks to policy relaxations.
Information-based networks should be put in place, allowing multidisciplinary consultation for urgent cases and in-time patients transfer, the guideline said.
"Maternal health management, including pre-maternal risk assessment and natal defects prevention should be prioritized," Ma Xiaowei, vice director of the commission, said.
China plans to further reduce the maternal mortality rate to 12 per 100,000 and the infant mortality rate to five per thousand by 2030, according to an official guideline titled Healthy China 2030.