Hip Dysplasia and the Pavlic Harness


I thought I would write a post about something that I feel isn’t talked about very much, and not a lot of parents Know a lot about it.

When my youngest Scarlet was born she had the normal check that every new-born baby has, the Doctor who was doing the health check noticed that Scarlet’s hips clicked when they were rotated. The doctor made an appointment for when Scarlet was a week old, to come back to the hospital for a hip scan. (which is an ultrasound on the hip-joint).

The day came for me to take her and I thought it was just routine and we would be sent home with nothing to worry about, But I was wrong, when the Midwife checked her hips she explained that her hips were very shallow and weren’t fully in the sockets. This made me panic and I was very upset at the thought that my baby had something wrong with her. The midwife also explained that she may have developmental delay when it comes to crawling and walking and could even end up having an operation which scared me even more. I left the hospital feeling heart-broken and worried. The midwife refered Scarlet to the Children’s Hospital to have further checks.

The appointment letter came through within a week and we were seen when Scarlet was only three weeks old. When we got to the hospital we were directed to the hip clinic, When we got there the first thing I noticed was the amount of baby girls that were there to have a hip scan. We went into the room where the scan would take place and Scarlet had to lie on a bed completely naked so the Hip Consultant could get a proper look at her hips. While doing the scan the Doctor was speaking to his colleagues using long words that had no meaning to me, this made me worry that there was something seriously wrong with her.

The Scan was complete and the Doctor explained that she did in fact have shallow hips but the right one was so shallow that it could actually come out of the joint at anytime. I was beside my self with panic so I began to ask questions. I asked what the next step was and that’s when I first saw the Pavlic Harness in all its horrible glory. He explained that scarlet would have to wear the harness for at least 13 weeks, 24 hours a day, the purpose of the Harness was to keep her legs in a frog like position so the bone could form correctly around it.  He then put it on her and explained that it can not be adjusted or taken off at all. Which meant that bathing her went out the window and I would only be able to wash her with a cloth, she also wasn’t able to wear any sort of trousers or baby grows which meant I had to go shopping for dresses which I brought a size bigger so it would completely cover her legs.

I wasn’t able to hold and cuddle Scarlet either as she constantly had her legs open so I wasn’t sure how to hold her, this did really upset me as I just wanted to cuddle my new-born baby and I wasn’t able to.

I soon got used to it and had to have the thought in my mind that this will help my daughter and after the 13 weeks she will be fine.

After 2 weeks of having it on which was Christmas day I was forced to take her to the hospital in the early hours as she screamed for 5 hours straight and I couldn’t do anything to make her stop. When we got to the hospital we were seen very quickly as she was so young and the hip Doctor was called in as the Doctors on shift that night knew nothing about the harness. The Hip doctor took the harness off her legs, she must have had a growth spurt as the harness was that tight that it was actually cutting into her leg which explained why she was crying for so long.

After a month of the harness being on it started to stink as I was unable to wash it, this is one of the things I hated about it.

We went to the Hip clinic every two weeks for the Doctors to check it and adjust it and the amount of babies that had to wear the Pavlic harness really surprised me, I had never heard of it before Scarlet had to have it.

One thing that annoyed me When Scarlet had the harness on was how little the Doctors and Health Visitors Knew about Hip dysplasia, this meant every time I felt there was a problem with it I had to travel half an hour to get to the children’s just for it to be checked, Instead of going up the road to my GP’s.

 DSC_0044-MOTION.gif (1)Scarlet is now nearly 3 and was signed off from the Children’s Hospital in January, the Pavlik harness did its job and she doesn’t have any more problems. It didn’t have an effect on her development and she walked at 10 months which surprised us all. Without the harness things may have been different and her Hip dysplasia could have made life very hard for her.


2 thoughts on “Hip Dysplasia and the Pavlic Harness

  1. I’ve heard of this before, but to be honest I didn’t really know much about it. I’m glad she’s ok and has been signed off now. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky


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