Although DDH is most often present at birth, it can develop during a the first year of a child’s life.
A babys’ hips and ligaments can be loosened by the mothers’ ‘relaxin’ hormone whilst they are in the womb at a time when their legs are bent and they are in the fetal position. If when they are born their legs are then forcibly straightened due to swaddling it can increase the risk of DDH.
Swaddling can of course be used as it can help settle a baby, but it needs to be done safely, so that the babys’ legs are relaxed, able to bend up and out at the hips. Ideally they need to be able to rest in the the natural ‘frog like’ position as this allows for the healthy, natural development of the hip joints.
Parents also need to be mindful when using baby carriers, slings and travel car seats as if not used correctly, these can also force the legs into a straight position.