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It’s Baby Hip Health Awareness Week. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, one out of every 20 babies is born with some form of hip instability and 2-3 of every 1000 babies will require some form of treatment – it’s one of the most common birth defects in babies, yet still rare. Most babies are screened at birth, but one in ten cases of hip dysplasia (DDH) isn’t detected in newborn tests. My daughter Sara is one of babies who slipped through the cracks. We found out about her dislocated left hip after she started walking when she was 15 months old. I hope this post helps someone catch DDH sooner than we did.
The biggest RISK FACTORS FOR DDH are:
- First born
- Breech birth
- Family history
Sara is my 4th child, and third girl. She was breech for a time during my pregnancy, but she turned on her own and was born via an uncomplicated and unmedicated birth at home. My midwife screened her for hip problems. My chiropractor screened her for hip problems. My pediatrician screened her for hip problems. Honestly, we kind of “forgot” about our family history of hip problems, but my husband’s sister’s daughter (first born, girl, breech, c-section) was found to have a dislocated left hip just like Sara, also when she was 15 months old ~ 9 years before Sara.
These are the WARNING SIGNS of DDH:
- one leg appearing shorter than the other
- an extra deep crease on the inside of the thigh or buttocks
- crawling with one leg dragging or walking with a limp or a waddle
- one leg that does not seem to move outwards as fully as the other or both legs seem restricted.
Sara had the first three warning signs. We were the ones to seek medical help after she started walking and we connected the dots. Duh. Of course. It all made sense after she started walking – but our pediatrician was not concerned about hip problems. We pressed for a referral and got it. I’m not sure when her DDH would have been caught if we hadn’t demanded answers.
If you notice any of the above signs, it’s worth a trip to the doctor to get answers! It’s not normal for babies to limp or waddle when they first start walking. Early diagnosis makes quite a difference to treatment and prognosis. When in doubt, ask!
There are steps you can take to prevent DDH!
1. Wear your baby correctly. Avoid crotch dangling carriers like the Baby Bjorn. Instead, find carriers that hold your baby’s hips out along your side:
According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institue, “When in the womb the baby’s legs are in a fetal position with the legs bent up and across each other. Sudden straightening of the legs to a standing position can loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the socket.” Your baby’s “legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips [while swaddled]. This position allows for natural development of the hip joints.”
This post is dedicated to my hip baby Sara and her hip cousin Grace – both still fighting DDH.
Please help me spread the word about Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips. Share this post – shout it from the rooftops – and check out these other amazing bloggers who are also working to get spread awareness ~
I have a week of new Hip Posts planned this week. If you’re facing this problem, or know someone who is, stay tuned! To read our entire story, click here.