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Developmental Dysplasia of Hip and Post-natal Positioning: Role of Swaddling and Baby-Wearing

Abstract

Introduction

Traditional swaddling, which implies restrictive immobilisation of the infant’s lower limbs with the hips in forced extension and adduction, has been shown to be a risk factor for Developmental Dysplasia of Hip (DDH).

Methods

We reviewed the literature regarding the correlation between DDH and post-natal positioning by swaddling and baby-wearing, to draw awareness of healthcare professionals towards an important risk factor for DDH that has often been overlooked.

Results

There is overwhelming evidence in the literature, by both experimental and clinical studies, that proves the close association between improper post-natal positioning of the baby’s hips in extension-adduction and an increased incidence of DDH. On the other hand, “hip safe” swaddling which allows unrestricted flexion-abduction movements of the infants’ hips, and the use of baby-wearing devices which keep the lower limbs in an attitude of hip flexion-abduction and knee flexion, is optimal for hip development. Populations which practice these “hip-safe” techniques of infant immobilisation have a lower incidence of DDH as compared to those which practice restrictive immobilisation. Furthermore, populations which have adopted “hip-safe” positioning have demonstrated a significant decrease in the incidence of DDH. Understanding this association is vital, since this is a modifiable risk factor, rectification of which can decrease the incidence of DDH.

Conclusion

Policy makers and governments must design educational campaigns tailored to their respective populations to increase awareness regarding the benefits of “hip-safe” techniques of infant positioning, since this simple intervention has the potential of decreasing the incidence of DDH.

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Contributions

SV conceptualised and designed the study. The first draft of the manuscript was written and compiled by SV and edited by AA & RM. All authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rujuta Mehta.

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Vaidya, S., Aroojis, A. & Mehta, R. Developmental Dysplasia of Hip and Post-natal Positioning: Role of Swaddling and Baby-Wearing. JOIO (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43465-021-00513-3

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Keywords

  • Developmental dysplasia of hip
  • DDH
  • Swaddling
  • Baby-wearing
  • Hip-safe
  • Post-natal positioning