The 4th Trimester: Postpartum Rehabilitation Course

This is an ON-DEMAND COURSE that is accessed virtually using the Academy Learning Portal. You will have 3 months from the date of registration to complete and review course materials. 

DESCRIPTION: The fourth trimester is the 12-week transitional period immediately after childbirth. Although the fourth trimester lays the foundation for the infant’s physical growth and neuromusculoskeletal development, it is a crucial time in physical change and healing for the mother as well.  This course seeks to discuss and describe major issues surrounding the mother during this key transitional period when many postpartum complications occur.  This course will begin with a review of musculoskeletal complications of labor and delivery and progress to discuss issues that may arise for women in the postpartum period. Rehabilitation implications in the postpartum will drive the discussion for this course.  The aim of the course is to investigate issues surrounding the mother during the 12-week transitional period immediately after childbirth that impact the musculoskeletal system and delay a return to exercise and successful life transition.


  • Sarah Hwang MD, Director of Women’s Health Rehabilitation at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Associate Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


  • Kari Bø, PT, Ph.D. Professor, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (NIH) Oslo, Norway 
  • Ellen Casey, MD, FACSM, CAQ-SM, Associate Professor Department of Physiatry,
    Director of Research Hospital for Special Surgery, USA Women’s Gymnastics National Team Physician
  • John O.L. DeLancey, MD, Norman F. Miller Professor of Gynecology at the University of Michigan
  • Colleen M. Fitzgerald, MD, MS, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Department of Urology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Medical Director of the Health Sciences Campus Clinical Research Office, Medical Director for the Chronic Pelvic Pain Program, Research Director for the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and
    Reconstructive Surgery, Assistant Dean of Medical Student Research.
  • Farah Hameed, MD, Medical Director of Women's Health Rehabilitation Associate Professor Associate Chair -Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Catherine Monk, Ph.D. Diana Vagelos Professor of Women’s Mental Health Director, Women’s Mental Health @Ob/Gyn Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Professor of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Research Scientist VI


AUDIENCE: Advanced Practice Nurses, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants,  Physicians (OB/GYN, Family practice, Sports Medicine, Physiatry)  and Physician Assistants.

SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION:  This is an on-demand course. To successfully complete this course, participants must review all required recordings and material. You will complete an assessment and evaluation through the Academy Leaning Portal. You will have access for 90 days from the date of registration to complete and review the course materials. 

LEARNER OUTCOMES:  Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to: 

  • Summarize musculoskeletal complications that can arise during labor and delivery
  • Identify how lactation impacts the musculoskeletal system and review conditions that may arise for breastfeeding mothers
  • Discuss successful strategies to help facilitate a return to exercise and life transition during the fourth trimester and throughout the first year postpartum  
  • Explain how the pelvic girdle, low back and pelvic floor are impacted during the period post pregnancy



The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This CNE is being offered for 3.75 contact hours of continuing nursing education. In order to receive contact hours for the live event, nurses must attend the entire webinar and complete the evaluation.  For the on-demand self-study they must also complete a post-test with a minimum passing score.

Occupational Therapy:

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Course approval ID# 05659. This distance learning independent webinar is offered at .375 CEUs [intermediate, OT Service Delivery, Foundational Knowledge]. AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

Physical Therapy:

This course has been approved by the Illinois Physical Therapy Board 3.5 Contact Hours. Approval #216-000069

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education. This course has been approved for 3.5 Contact Hours

The following states require continuing education units with no state-specific approval: CT, IA, and WA


The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago DBA Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is accredited by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago DBA Shirley Ryan AbilityLab designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians  should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Technology Requirements:

To participate, you will need access to a computer with an Internet connection. High-speed broadband access (LAN, Cable or DSL) is highly recommended. 

  • Internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or better)
  • Web browser:

Latest stable version of one of the following: Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

  • JavaScript and Cookies enabled
  • Speaker or headset to listen to audio files and participate in Zoom calls
  • Do NOT use Internet Explorer, as it is not supported.


Nurses Occupational Therapists Occupational Therapy Assistants OTA and PTA Physical Therapist Assistants Physical Therapists Physicians