- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BANGKOK (AP) - Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Thai government is handing out pills it calls “very magical vitamins” to prospective mothers to boost the country’s falling birthrate.

Government workers started distributing 1 million baht’s ($28,600) worth of prenatal vitamins Tuesday to women between the ages of 20 and 34.

The pills contain folic acid and iron.

The giveaway is part of a program called “the campaign for red-cheeked Thai women to have children for the country using very magical vitamins.”

Fewer Thai couples are getting married, and are doing so later in their lives, meaning fewer children each year.

“The Thai way of life is changing,” said Dr. Wachira Pengjuntr, director of the Department of Health. “Thai women are receiving higher education and the newer generation is placing a higher value on being single.”

Thailand’s population grew by only 0.4 percent in 2015, down from 2.7 percent in 1970. If the trend continues, the population will stop growing in 10 years, Wachira said.

The campaign is also hosting wedding ceremonies as Thais consider Valentine’s Day to be an auspicious day to get married.

Worrawut Ploywong and Priyapat Ploywong were among the couples tying the knot Tuesday.

“As for having babies, I want to have them as soon as we can and as many as we can,” said Worrawut, a wing commander in the Thai air force. “We wish for many souls to be born.”

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