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originally published: January, 2018

birmingham health physiotherapy
Post Natal Tummy Gap: It’s worth minding that gap but as importantly minding your own postnatal body

Post Natal Tummy Gap: It’s worth minding that gap but as importantly minding your own postnatal body

Like the National Childcare Trust ( NCT) the pregnancy & postnatal physiotherapy specialists at Barefoot Yoga Harborne are champions of encouraging women to seek the best postnatal care especially when it comes to their own bodies. They are one of the few UK Physio clinics to have not only 1 Pregnancy physio specialist but 5 (Fiona, Lisa, Gerard, Sundeep and Alime). They are pioneering the use of Ultrasound scanning in the assessment and treatment of tummy gaps (rectus diastasis) and pelvic floor problems and were one of the 1st UK clinics to deliver the Mummy MOT which they now teach on. As Fiona says “It’s like looking at your pelvic floor inside but staying outside as we commonly use abdominal scanning “. In the last few months they have delivered pelvic health physio courses in UK, Ireland, Cape Town & Istanbul and have been invited to teach in the USA and Australia also. However, their main focus is serving the women of the West Midlands and helping you with your postnatal recovery. If you have a tummy gap or pelvic floor problems or continuing pain see a postnatal physio specialist at Barefoot, you wouldn’t bring your baby or child to see someone who isn’t a specialist and you should keep the same high standards for yourself.

What is a diastasis or tummy gap?


A rectus diastasis is a stretching and increased gap in your linea alba or midline. This is a band of tissue that connects your right and left rectus abdominis muscles (six pack muscles). If it is stretched then so too will the other abdominal muscles, usually the pelvic floor and the fascia (strong connecting tissue in the abdomen) and skin. A diastasis is defined as more than a 2 finger gap in the midline just above or below the belly button. However, even if your gap is 2 fingers or less and the abdomen is very weak and stretched that also needs to be sorted out. A lot of women with a diastasis may also have other conditions such as low back or pelvic pain, urinary leakage, symptoms of prolapse, pain on intimacy or bowel symptoms. We also look at the depth as with a diastasis if you press into the midline your finger may sink in several cm which shows how weak and stretched the tissue has become. Tummy gaps are common but not normal and can be treated very successfully. Put yourself 1st and get some help. We don’t like all the focus that is put purely on the rectus abdominis muscle as this condition also involves the whole abdomen and pelvic floor and highlights all is not well there.

How do I know if I have a Diastasis or tummy gap?


  • Is your tummy doming or bulging outwards when you get up from lying or doing something strenuous?
  • Does it look like there is a gap in the mid line?
  • Can you get more than one finger in the mid line and can you keep sinking into it?
  • Does your abdomen look a little distorted or is the skin very crimpled or “mummy tummy” like
  • Is your tummy very weak and you find it hard to contract the muscles there?
  • Is your tummy sensitive to touch?

How do we Asses a Tummy Gap?

We look on the tummy gap as something that definitely needs to be treated but it is also a window to indicate all may not be well with your other abdominal muscles, your pelvic floor , organs , spine and hips. We don’t just assess the gap we assess you.


We may do an abdominal ultrasound scan to look at the width and depth of your tummy gap and how it responds to certain activities or exercises and how well you are able to work your fast and slow pelvic floor muscles (both are important and essential). We will see how your other abdominal and hip muscles are working and also palpate or feel your abdomen to see are the tissues tight, sensitive or thickened. We also look at your hips, spine and pelvis as the position of your spine affects the gap a lot. We will also ask you about symptoms of prolapse, pelvic pain, SUI, constipation, Pelvic girdle pain. The gap is important but you are more important.




What do we do with you to get it better?


  • We get rid of the doming activities
  • Lots of soft tissue work around your abdomen
  • Ultrasound imaging based rehab for your abdominals & pelvic floor so you can see what’s working.
  • Spinal, hip and breathing work. It’s not just the gap.
  • Graded return to safe and fun activities that you used to do
  • Signpost you to some great nutritional resources as healing tissue needs good nutrition.


Post Natal Problems are common but not normal, make yourself a priority this time and see a specialist Post Natal Physiotherapist at Barefoot.

The Barefoot Pregnancy & Post Natal Physios

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