Warning from Northampton mum after baby undergoes hip surgery

Zara in her pavlic harness at two weeks old
Zara in her pavlic harness at two weeks old

A Northampton mum has urged parents to check newborn babies for hip problems after her own daughter had to undergo surgery and wear a cast over most of her body for more than six months.

Emma Watson, from Marjoram Close, in East Hunsbury, had to put her oldest daughter, Sophie, now aged four, through surgery to reset her legs after she was diagnosed with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) at eight weeks old.

But a simple harness solved the same condition in her youngest daughter, Zara, who was diagnosed within 10 days of being born.

Mrs Watson, aged 34, said: “I insisted Zara was scanned as soon as possible after she was born because it is a genetic condition more common in girls.

“My DDH wasn’t diagnosed until I was three. I was in and out of hospital for two years having operations to create a new hip and I had arthritis by the time I was 19.

“Doctors were able to put Zara straight in a harness, which has corrected the problem without surgery.”

DDH includes various hip conditions and can lead to permanent disability.

After realising the importance of checking babies early, Mrs Watson joined DDH charity, Steps, where she met another mum from the county in a similar situation with two daughters of the same age.

Claire Richardson, from Nether Heyford, whose daughters Eva and Holly were both treated for DDH, said: “It helped massively talking to someone who had gone through a similar experience.

“When Eva first got her cast I was struggling to even change her nappy, but Claire helped me. Now Eva is fine and even does gymnastics.”

Celebrating Baby Hip Health Week from March 2, Steps aims to raise awareness of the DDH warning signs, such as clicks and extra folds of skin around the hips.

Mrs Richardson added: “They are tiny things, but checking early could make a huge difference and avoid invasive operations.”

For more information about DDH and supporting Steps, visit www.steps-