All Chinese rural couples planning to have a baby may now receive a free pre-pregnancy health examination, health authorities said Thursday.
The free pre-pregnancy check-up project previously only covered 60 percent of China, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The project was initiated in 2010 to reduce birth defect risks.
Medical care staff will assess the couples' physical conditions and risks for giving birth, and will offer guidance and suggestions.
To ensure the effectiveness of the examinations, the commission organized an assessment of medical care institutions responsible for the project starting in early June, and found that 85.5 percent merited a good or excellent rating.