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After birth, many women have concerns about changes to their stomach muscles and may notice a softening or gap in their abdomen. This is known as a Rectus Diastasis which occurs in all women in their third trimester. Often the gap closes and is no longer noticeable but for approximately a third of women improvements plateau and the Rectus Diastasis remains.

There is a lot of confusing information as to what can be done to help improve the situation and get stomach muscles back into shape. At Parkside we are using the latest evidence to help empower women back to fitness and activity. In the post natal period, there are often a number of associated symptoms including low back pain and difficulty with bladder control. Our Women’s Health Physios specialise in the assessment and treatment of these specific problems. We can offer a supportive environment to discuss your concerns, followed by a tailored assessment. With this information we can develop goals and a treatment plan taking into account your specific needs.

Why should I attend a Mummy MOT?

Many women can often feel that they have many unanswered questions after their 6 week check. Such as:

  • Am I doing my pelvic floor exercises correctly?
  • Can I do sit ups and the plank to help get my tummy back in shape?
  • When can I return to my usual levels of exercise?
  • Sometimes I leak when I cough or sneeze. Is this normal?

These are important questions. Our New Mum MOT gives you an opportunity to put your mind at rest.

Research suggests that there will be a natural healing of a Rectus Diastasis up to 8 weeks post natal. A New Mum MOT will ensure that you are doing the correct exercises at the right time. This will avoid overloading the abdominal muscles which may delay healing.

Recent studies have found that at 8 weeks post natal there will be no further improvements to a Rectus Diastasis without interventions such as Physiotherapy.

On-going weakness of the abdominal wall is associated with higher numbers of bladder incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Being shown correct ways of doing every day movements can also prevent low back pain now and in the future.

When should I attend my New Mum MOT?

Usually we recommend patients attend for assessment once they have had their 6 week post natal review with their GP. You may wish to come before this but you will need to discuss with us first.

What should I expect in my New Mum MOT?

You will be asked to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to fill out an in depth questionnaire. This will allow the Physiotherapist to spend longer focusing on your specific concerns.

Your assessment will last for an hour.

The assessment will start with an initial discussion. The second part of the assessment will depend on your presenting problems. This may require you to perform certain movements or tests and therefore we suggest you bring shorts and a vest top with you.

If there are any continence issues, an assessment of your pelvic floor may be indicated. This may involve an internal examination but this is of course a personal decision that you will make with your Physiotherapist.

Following the assessment, you and your Physiotherapist will discuss the examination findings and how these can be treated. You can set specific goals which can be reviewed in future sessions if you choose.

For some of you a one off review may be all you require, whereas some women may need further sessions to meet their goals.

What treatments are available?

  • Core strengthening (1:1 or Pilates)
  • Soft tissue release
  • Manual therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Bladder retraining
  • Pelvic floor retraining
  • Neuromuscular stimulation and biofeedback
  • Prolapse treatment
  • Advice and reassurance

What to bring with you

Please bring shorts and a vest top as you may be required to undress. It is also useful to bring a list of your past medical history and any prescriptions. You may wish to spend some time before the appointment thinking of some questions for your Physiotherapist.