Why the M-Shape is Important

Why the M-Shape is Important

drawing of a baby in a baby carrier with hips and legs in the M positionOne aspect of developmental health that is not widely talked about is hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, many parents whose children develop hip dysplasia don’t know the dangers until it’s too late. Hip dysplasia is simply defined as the abnormal growth of hips, which is much more likely to occur in children who are still developing.

What is hip dysplasia?

According to information from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute:

After birth, it takes several months for your baby’s joints to straighten out naturally. Since your baby’s hip sockets are still pliable, there is a greater chance that the joint may become deformed if it is forced to stretch out. So, when babies are carried, the hips should be allowed to spread apart with the thighs supported and the hips bent. When babies are seated in this position in their baby carriers, it is commonly referred to as the M-position. When the knees are held up higher than the baby’s bottom, this position both promotes healthy hip growth and prevents against the development of hip dysplasia.

What are the consequences of hip dysplasia?

When the baby’s legs are allowed to hang straight down, the thigh is not supported to the knee joint. This puts too much force on the hip joint, which can lead to disfiguration. Even mild cases of hip dysplasia can lead to negative health effects later in life, where the cartilage around the hip is damaged. In many cases, mild forms of hip dysplasia go undiagnosed, resulting in hip problems later on. It can also be made worse by improper swaddling, baby-wearing, or car seats.

What can you do to prevent hip dysplasia?

In this case, prevention is key. Take the time to make sure that your baby accessories were created with your newborn’s hip health in mind. All aspects of your baby’s health and safety deserve to be considered. When deciding between baby carriers, choose one that has been certified by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for preventing hip dysplasia. There is even research that states that correct baby-wearing promotes proper hip development!

What are some signs of hip dysplasia?

Here are some common indicators of improper hip growth that you can look for to ensure your baby is healthy:

  • Asymmetrical buttocks or hips
  • Signs of pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Hip clicking or popping

If any of these signs persist, contact your doctor for further inspection. Here’s to keeping your baby hip healthy!

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