01438 716838
8am–8pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
8am–4pm Wednesday and Friday

The Mummy MOT

After the birth of your baby your pelvic floor and core stability tummy muscles may not be working correctly. The gap in the tummy muscle may not have closed fully. Your posture and centre of gravity may still be altered. The Mummy MOT can identify these risks, assess your posture, tummy muscle gap and pelvic floor muscle strength and advise on pelvic floor safe exercises to allow normal function and prevent problems in the future.

What is a tummy gap?

A tummy gap occurs naturally in all women during pregnancy. Called rectus abdominis, it’s when your ‘abs’ or ‘six pack’ muscles naturally relax apart to allow your bump to grow and give your baby room in the womb. The issue is not that it happens during the pregnancy, it’s what happens after the birth – did these muscles snap back into place or have they still not joined back up – a third of all mums have a tummy gap even 8 weeks after birth.

Who is at risk?

Women more at risk of having a tummy gap are those who had twins, bigger babies or have stretch marks, although it can happen to anyone. One in three women have a tummy gap greater than two fingers wide.

Why does it matter?

When you have a tummy gap it’s harder to regain core stability in the abdomen and pelvic area and this means you’re at greater risk of developing back pain, prolapse and urinary incontinence. If the gap is very big it can also affect breathing, bowel movements and cause other abdominal problems as well as affecting your general posture.

Do you have a tummy gap?

Many mums are unaware they still have a tummy gap and go back to boot camp, pilates and cycling but this can make the gap worse and make your tummy bulge. To find out if you have a tummy gap try our self check assessment by following the easy steps below.

How to Self-Check

Two weeks after the birth of your baby, lie flat and bend your knees up as if about to do a sit up. Place your fingers gently just above your tummy button and then lift your head and shoulders slightly as if starting a sit up but rest there. Check how many fingers you can fit in the gap between the muscles. Repeat the check each week and by 8 weeks the finger gap should be no more than 2 fingers wide. Until this point no abdominal exercise like crunchs/planks etc should be undertaken. Pelvic Floor exercises and deep tummy ‘core’ work can be started.


Over one third – 36% – of all women still have a tummy gap greater than 2 fingers eight weeks after giving birth. Of that third of women who still have a tummy gap, two thirds of those – 66% – will develop a pelvic related health issue.

The Mummy MOT is a postnatal detailed physiotherapy assessment of the abdominal and pelvic area. It will check your posture, breathing, tummy gap and pelvic floor strength. You will receive a report of the findings on the day. Following the assessment an appropriate safe exercise programme will be prescribed.

Click here to read more about the mummy MOT specialist physiotherapy programme.

Birgitte Dansie  Physiotherapist

Brigitte represented her country as an international gymnast. She qualified in 1981 with a Diploma in Physiotherapy from Coventry University. Brigitte then moved back to her native Norway and worked in the main orthopaedic hospital in Oslo for one year and spent two years working in an independent sports injury clinic.

She returned to England in 1984 and set up the Outpatient clinic at the Spire Hospital, Harpenden. Her own independent clinic, Physio Vineyards, was set up in 1986 and has been running ever since.

Brigitte is a member of the CSP, AACP, Physio First and the ACPSM. She trained with the BCPA and attained Pilates teaching qualifications in 2001.

Her special interests are muscle imbalance and Pilates rehabilitation. She treats all musculoskeletal injuries including sports injuries and uses acupuncture. She also has an advanced CPD portfolio.

Esme Westcott  Physiotherapist

Esme qualified in South Africa in 1989 with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Physiotherapy. After working in a government funded hospital for three years, she opened a private practice where she worked closely with the University Department of Drama and Physical Theatre, as well as with the local rugby club.

In 2000 Esme relocated to the UK. She worked at the Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust as a senior physiotherapist in the outpatient department for two years. Subsequent to that she has been in private practice, specializing in the treatment (and prevention) of musculoskeletal disorders. She is a member of the AACP and uses acupuncture as an adjunct to physiotherapy.

She enjoys an active lifestyle and her interests include running, cycling, swimming and weight training.

Karen Evans  Practice Manager

Karen joined the practice as Practice Manager in May 2014 and has worked in the beauty industry as a therapist for the past 26 years running departments and her own business along the way.

Karen has excellent personal and administrative skills and is available to answer all administrative and invoicing queries.

Nicola Nash  Physiotherapist

Nicola qualified in 2001 with an (Hons) Degree in Physiotherapy, having trained in Sheffield.

She worked at the Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust where she covered all aspects of physiotherapy before specialising in musculoskeletal injuries. She later became a senior physiotherapist in the Outpatient Department, and worked at a GP's practice in Leighton Buzzard before joining Physio Vineyards in 2004. Nicola uses acupuncture to aid in recovery of injuries.

Rachel Thomas  Physiotherapist

Rachel qualified in 1986 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Physiotherapy from the Royal London Hospital and North East London Polytechnic. She uses acupuncture, specialises in neurology and vestibular rehabilitation and undertakes the home visits for the practice. Rachel joined Physio Vineyards in 1997 after working in London, British Columbia and Munich.

Susanne Kjaervik  Physiotherapist

Susanne qualified in 1996 with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Physiotherapy from Coventry University. She initially worked in paediatrics as a locum for a few years before taking up a post at Hemel Hempstead General Hospital where she worked as a senior physiotherapist, first in Orthopaedics and then in Musculoskeletal Outpatients.

Susanne moved into private practice in 2000 before joining Physio Vineyards in 2001. Susanne uses acupuncture to enhance an individual's treatment.

Susanne is a member of the CSP, AACP and Physio First.

Bally Lidder  Physiotherapist

Bally qualified in 1993 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Physiotherapy from Wolverhampton University and in 2004 an MSc in Acupunture from Coventry University. She uses acupuncture and specialises in woman’s health. Bally joined Physio Vineyards in 2008.

Charan Kaura  Podiatrist

Charan qualified in Podiatric Medicine in 1988 from the London Foot Hospital affiliated with University College London.

Following graduation she worked in the NHS for various London Trusts for several years covering general podiatry, diabetes, biomechanics and podiatric surgery.

In 1993 she branched out into the private sector, but still maintained links with the NHS. Also around this time she pursued post graduate studies into the speciality of podiatric surgery and after many years study and training she achieved her Fellowship in podiatric surgery in 2003. She has worked as a Specialist Registrar and Consultant in podiatric surgery in the NHS.

Charan currently works in private practice in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. She is married and has two young sons.

Rectus Abdominis

Many mums are unaware they still have a tummy gap after pregnancy. Find out if you have by following our simple self-check assessment.

Do you suffer from pain?

We can help whatever your condition. All you need is the desire to improve your life. The Physio Vineyards practice is open to all, so call today to make an appointment or for an initial assessment.

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Call us on 01438 716838
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I have been a patient of the Vineyards for in excess of 20 years.

There is a wide range of skills within the practice so it's very easy to find a therapist to meet all needs.

I have always found it to be very friendly and professionally run.

Mrs T N (Stevenage)


Having suffered from horrific whiplash injuries as a consequence of a road traffic accident, Physio Vineyards offered superb rehabilitation options. With a holistic approach that included intensive physiotherapy to Pilates exercises, advice on posture and specific neck & back exercises. All of it was complimented with psychological support which has resulted in me being able to return to work well ahead of schedule.

Physio Vineyards offer a very professional total care service of the highest calibre that is tailored to specific needs of each individual.

Ditte Dansie's in-depth knowledge and experience in dealing with musculoskeletal related injuries gives me a lot of confidence in recommending Physio Vineyards as a first choice for whiplash associated injuries.

Mr R K M (Welwyn)


I have always found the practice to be very efficient, with Rachel being my physiotherapist both through this recovery and previous major surgery.

I would recommend both her and the Physio Vineyards practice to anyone needing physiotherapy.

Mrs D J (Hatfield)

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