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Taiwan Asks Pregnant Women To Donate 'Lucky' Sanitary Pads, Tampons To Boost Birth Rate

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TAIWAN
A nurse inspects a newborn baby at a nursery in a hospital in Taipei on July 8, 2011. (PATRICK LIN/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty
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In an attempt to boost the country's low birth rate, the Taiwanese government has turned to a rather bizarre superstition, encouraging pregnant women to "share their luck" with others by distributing unused sanitary pads and tampons.

Tapping into the Taiwanese tradition, which dictates that "women can increase their chances of getting pregnant by obtaining unused maxi pads or tampons from pregnant woman to share their luck," according to the Taipei Times, Taipei's Department of Civil Affairs announced this week that it will be collecting pads and tampons from expectant moms until the end of the month. The Times reports that the donated items will distributed "to those who are in need" in August.

On its website, the city government said it hopes couples who are trying for a child will be encouraged by this donation drive, the aim of which is "to help more couples conceive."

“We hope that Taipei residents who want to get pregnant will be blessed by the lucky pads and that their wishes will come true,” department commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ju said at a press conference Wednesday, according to the Times.

As the BBC notes, Taiwan's birth rate was the lowest in world in 2011. However, it has since been on the rise, thanks to government programs like the Taipei City Government's "Good pregnancy assistance" campaign, which offers monetary incentives and other perks to people with kids.

According to the CIA's 2013 World Factbook, Taiwan's total fertility rate of 1.11 gives it the third-lowest birth rate in the world. Singapore is currently at the very bottom of the list, with a TFR of 0.79.

Like Taiwan, Singapore has implemented a plethora of programs -- some of them similarly out-of-the-box -- to encourage couples to have more children.

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