Let’s Talk About Hips: What does ‘hip healthy’ mean?
Here at The Gro Company, we were delighted to receive official notification from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) that the Gro-snug (known in Australia as the Swaddle Grobag) – our 2in1 swaddle and newborn Grobag – has been recognized as a ‘hip-healthy’ product. However many parents may not be aware of hip dysplasia, and in particular what ’hip healthy’ means, so this first of two posts in our ‘Let’s Talk About Hips’ campaign attempts to explain some of the issues surrounding the topic.
Hip dysplasia is the medical term for an instability or looseness of the hip joint (ranging from mild instability to complete dislocation). Approximately 5% of all full-term babies will have some hip instability, and 2 or 3 per thousand will need treatment for it. The looseness of the hip joint is due to the mother’s body making hormones that help ligaments relax during the birth process, and these hormones affect the baby’s hips.
Predisposing factors for infant hip dysplasia include:
1. A family history of hip dysplasia
2. Breech position in the womb
3. First-born girls
4. Twisted neck or foot
5. Birth weight more than 8lb 13 oz (4kg)
6. Mother older than 35 years
7. Hip click
The condition is usually diagnosed by a routine examination of the infant’s hips, and if the paediatrician has any concerns, an ultrasound may be recommended.
Fortunately 90% of loose hips in babies tighten up naturally, and the hips grow correctly, after the mother’s relaxing hormones have left the baby’s body.
However, conditions that can prevent this natural correction from occurring include genetics, and swaddling that involves the baby’s legs being tightly wrapped straight down and pressed together.
In order for swaddling to allow hip healthy development, the baby’s legs should be able to bend up and out at the hips. This position allows the natural development of the hip joints.
So it is important for parents to understand that if they swaddle their baby, it is done in a ‘hip-healthy’ position.
This is why we are seeking to help educate parents by running our ‘Let’s Talk About Hips’ campaign.
The Gro-snug (or Swaddle Grobag in Australia) received the IHDI accreditation because it allows babies to be swaddled in a hip healthy way, as the curved seams of the bag create a loose pouch, allowing plenty of leg and hip movement and ensuring that the natural ‘frog-leg’ position can be maintained.
If you are looking for advice on how to swaddle safely, check out our safe swaddling guidelines.