This week Anna from Mini First Aid Birmingham tells her story of her baby girl’s Hip Dysplasia...

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip.. how much do you know? DDH is a condition where the "ball and socket" joint of the hip does not properly form in babies and young children. It's sometimes called congenital hip dislocation or hip dysplasia and affects 1-2 in 1000 babies in the UK. Within 72 hours of giving birth, your baby's hips will be checked as part of the newborn physical examination. Another hip examination is carried out when your baby is between 6 and 8 weeks old. The examination involves gentle manipulation of your baby's hip joints to check if there are any problems. It should not cause them any discomfort. If there are any concerns your baby will be referred for an ultra sound scan, which again is quick and shouldn’t cause any discomfort. 


The first time I heard about hip dysplasia was as a 19 year old physiotherapy student who tried to self diagnose hip pain. I was referred to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who explained DDH. Surprisingly, it never caused me issues as a sporty youngster, but my symptoms flared up as a young adult when I started walking everywhere. Forward 9 years, and I underwent pretty major surgery to correct the joint. 4 months off work and A LOT of rehab, my left hip is as good as new nowUnfortunately my right wasn’t fixed (as it miraculously caused me no problems til recently) , so at (just) over 40, my only option is/will be a hip replacement. I’m just hoping to get as near to 50 as I can...


Why am I sharing this? As I have hip Dysplasia, there was always a chance my children would have it too. It is more common in girls and in first borns, so when I had my first child, a daughter, I was keen to have her scanned. She “passed” the clicky hip test that all newborns undergo (as did I) but at just a couple of weeks old, Holly had an ultrasound of her hips (because of my history) and it showed an under developed left hip joint. We were referred to the Children’s Hospital and Holly was fitted with a Pavlik Harness. She had to wear this 24/7 for about 8 weeks. 


I was so upset. I know that in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t a major problem, it wasn’t affecting her health and there are people going through a lot lot worse. But as post natal, hormonal new mummy, my teeny cute bundle of joy was suddenly fitted with a brace. She was no longer little and squishy. The brace put her up a clothing size, made her feel very stiff, and meant babygrows were unwearable. I managed to continue to breastfeed.. positioning her on her side was tricky, and feeding out and about was a little more challenging, but I was determined! It was only on for 8-10 weeks, and Holly is fine now. Her hips continued to look ‘normal’ at her 2 year check, and hopefully that’s it. Fingers crossed she’ll have none of the problems I’ve had as an adult. 


Forward another 12 months and I had another bundle of joy. This time a little boy. There were no concerns raised in the initial check, but Sam was also scanned at two weeks old because of the strong family history. He too had an under developed hip joint and off to the Children’s Hospital we went again. Sam only had the brace for about 6 weeks, but I still felt the same emotions. I cried a lot and craved cuddles with my teeny squishy baby. Don’t get me wrong, I had lots of cuddles, but they’re not the same to a hormonal post natal mum!


Another two years and baby #3. Elliot had his scan at 2 weeks old.. borderline so decision to re-scan in another 2 weeks. Repeat scan.. well developed hips!!! I cried! Tears of joy that I would be able to enjoy those early day cuddles with my baby.


I wouldn’t change anything... my babies have no recollection of the Pavlik Harness, and we know that they shouldn’t have any further problems. The surgery I had led to all three of my lovely babies being delivered by c-section (2 emergency, 1 elective) and it’s nice to know Holly should have a better shot at a “normal delivery” (if there is such a thing!)


There’s lots of advice out there, if you think your little one could be at risk, ask for a scan early on. It’s only an ultrasound so little one is barely aware of it.