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The Postpartum Athlete: Guidelines for Returning to Sport

presented by Catherine Cram, MS

Accrediting Body:

Target Audience:

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Catherine Cram receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Catherine Cram has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 60 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 32 Minutes

The lack of evidence-based, established guidelines for postpartum athletes who wish to return to training has created a gap in information available for this population and those who provide health and fitness guidance to them. This course provides a return-to-training template for health and fitness professionals who work with high-level athletes during their postpartum recovery and incorporates current research and recommendations from experts in the field of postpartum fitness.

The course will provide a comprehensive overview of the specific needs of the postpartum athlete.

Key points include:

o Identifying the "fourth trimester" needs and support actions and the physiological, physical, and psychological issues that impact postpartum recovery and return to exercise
o Highlighting the need for establishing a team for managing all aspects of recovery or treatment needs
o Guidelines for assessing readiness for return to training postpartum
o Effective exercise loading and progression
o Monitoring training progression response
o Guidelines for assessing relative energy deficiency in sport and heart rate variability

Meet Your Instructor

Catherine Cram, MS

Catherine Cram, MS, is an exercise physiologist and the owner of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting, LLC. Comprehensive Fitness Consulting provides evidence-based maternal fitness information and continuing education course training to health and fitness professionals. Catherine developed the continuing education certificate course "Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design" (Human Kinetics, 2016) with Gwen Hyatt. She coauthored the 2012…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. What Is the Fourth Trimester?

This chapter will identify key fourth trimester needs and support actions. Common postpartum conditions and warning signs and symptoms will be covered, and the development of a team approach for treatment will be discussed. This chapter will also cover proper body mechanics and ergonomic guidelines, pelvic floor strengthening exercises, and key points for understanding the unique athlete mindset.

2. Postpartum Recovery

Chapter 2 will identify the physiological, physical, and psychological issues that may affect a postpartum athlete’s return to exercise. Specific recovery needs for vaginal and cesarean delivery will be provided, and methods for treatment of scars, pelvic floor dysfunction, incontinence, and diastasis rectus abdominis will be discussed.

3. Guidelines for Returning to Exercise

Chapter 3 will provide information on how to develop a return-to-training program for a postpartum athlete. It will cover guidelines for assessing readiness for return to exercise, training volume and intensity progression, monitoring of exercise response, relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S), and tools for optimizing training.

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