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Care of the Pregnant Patient - San Diego, CA - February 2-3, 2013

Audience: This continuing education seminar is targeted to physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapist assistants, registered nurses, nurse midwives, and other rehabilitation professionals. Content is not intended for use outside the scope of the learner's license or regulation. Physical therapy continuing education courses should not be taken by individuals who are not licensed or otherwise regulated, except, as they are involved in a specific plan of care.
Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 15 (CEUs vary by state)
Price: $475 (Early registrant price of $450 for registrations received one month before course start date).
Prerequisites: None


Have a question about this course? Contact Us.

Are you interested in expanding your practice to treat prenatal patients? Herman & Wallace has put together a Pregnancy and Your Pelvic Floor marketing presentation to help you underscore the importance of prenatal physical therapy.

Evaluating and treating a pregnant patient can be intimidating and daunting. Questions about safety and efficacy of evaluation and intervention arise, and most rehabilitation providers do not feel well prepared in working with women who are pregnant. In a survey of therapists who were members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Section on Women's Health (SOWH), Krum & Smith (2005) found that "A majority of respondents...had received minimal academic education specific to women's health issues." (p. 31) This 2-day,beginner level continuing education course provides a foundation in women's health education specific to caring for the pregnant patient.


Foundational to diagnosis of the musculoskeletal issues present in the peripartum period is an understand of the amazing changes that occur in a woman's body, and the potential risks and benefits of evaluation and intervention techniques. These physical changes are driven by significant hormonal shifts that are explained during this continuing education course. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, relaxin, oxytocin, and prolactin are discussed, and the effects of these and other hormones, some that are present only during pregnancy, are presented. An understanding of typical hormonal effects can allow a therapist to answer a patient's questions and to provide reassurance about the changes that are experienced during pregnancy, or the gestational period.


Some of the musculoskeletal changes and approaches to rehabilitation are similar to those in the non-pregnant population, yet the potential for risks from interventions such as manual therapies, modalities, and exercise approaches must be understood in order to proceed safely with care of the pregnant woman. Participants will learn about contraindications for modalities such as US, TENS, and the applications of specific exercises within safe postures throughout a woman's gestational period. Despite the often-held belief that exercise during pregnancy is unsafe, moderate to vigorous exercise (for the patient who is not high-risk) offers many health benefits towards depression, maternal self-image, weight gain, and even offers benefit to the developing child. (Clapp, 2002) The participant will learn about these benefits, exercise recommendations, as well as guidelines from organizations such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For conditions that are specific to the peripartum period, such as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain or diastasis recti abdominis (a separation of the rectus abdominis at the midline that can occur in more than half of women according to Boissonnault and Blaschak, (1998) and Spitznagle and colleagues (2007)), this continuing education course instructs in risk factors, clinical diagnostic tests, and interventions including use of pregnancy-support belts and braces.


With higher rates of women carrying multiples and an increase in high-risk pregnancies, therapists must be familiar with medical screening for the pregnant population. In this continuing education course, therapists learn to screen for conditions including thyroid dysfunction, deep vein thrombosis, and pregnancy-related hypertension. In addition to learning how to evaluate and treat the pregnant woman, course instructors will answer your questions about billing and reimbursement for this special population, marketing and the language of obstetrics, special tests during the pregnancy period such as amniocentesis, and preparing the patient for labor and delivery.



Boissonnault, J. S., & Blaschak, M. J. (1988). Incidence of diastasis recti abdominis during the childbearing year. Physical Therapy, 68(7), 1082-1086.
Clapp, J. F. I. (2002). Exercising through your pregnancy. Omaha, Nebrasks: Addicus Books, Inc.
Krum, L., & Smith, S. (2005) Educating physical therapists in women's health: recommendations for professional (entry-level) and postprofessional curricula. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 19(2), 31-41.
Spitznagle, T., Leong, F., & Van Dillen, L. (2007). Prevalence of diastasis recti abdominis in a urogynecological patient population. International Urogynecology Jounral & Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, 18(3), 321-328.

Upon completion of this continuing education seminar, participants will be able to:
1. Understand common definitions and medical testing used in obstetrics.
2. Avoid all contraindications for evaluation and treatment of the pregnant patient.
3. List 3 major hormones and how each affects the musculoskeletal system during pregnancy. 
4. Describe the pregnancy-related physiologic changes in the cardiorespiratory, integumentary, gastrointestinal, urinary, reproductive, immune and musculoskeletal systems during pregnancy.
5. List 2 common conditions that occur in pregnancy for the spine and trunk, abdomen, pelvic floor, pelvic girdle, upper and lower extremities.
6. Instruct in safe exercises and activities for the low-risk and high-risk patient.
7. Educate the patient in methods to prepare physically for birth.
8. Complete medical screening for referral for the pregnant patient.
9. Apply and utilize surface EMG with external sensors for pelvic floor muscles.
9. Market a program of physical therapy care for the pregnant patient.

Day One:
7:30 Registration
8:00 Course goals, introductions, pre-test
8:30 Hormonal influences and musculoskeletal changes
10:00 Break 
10:15 Spine and Trunk Common Complaints Lecture
11:00 Spine and Trunk Common Complaints Lab
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Pelvic Girdle Common Complaints Lecture
1:45 Pelvic Girdle Common Complaints Lab
2:45 Break
3:00 Abdomen and Pelvic Floor Lecture
3:45 Abdomen and Pelvic Floor Lab
4:45 Break
5:00 Case Study
5:30 Questions, Post-Test
6:00 Adjourn

Day Two:
8:00 Questions, Pre-test
8:30 Exercise in Pregnancy
9:15 High-risk Pregnancy
9:45 Break
10:00 Preparing for Birth
10:30 Marketing, Billing, Resources
11:00 Upper Quarter Common Complaints Lecture
11:45 Lunch
12:30 Upper Quarter Common Complaints Lab
1:30 Break
1:45 Lower Quarter Common Complaints Lecture
2:30 Lower Quarter Common Complaints Lab
3:30 Questions, Post-test
4:00 Adjourn

Have a question about this course? Contact Us

Jenni Gabelsberg, DPT, MSc, MTC

Jenni Gabelsberg  DPT, MSc, MTCDr. Jenni Gabelsberg, DPT, MSc, MTC is a women's health physical therapist specializing in urinary incontinence and pelvic pain since 1994. She strives to empower patients through education and self-awareness to encourage them to take responsibility for their own health. She believes that a physical therapist's education forms the cornerstone of her care. She attended the University of Vermont and earned a Bachelor of Science, Physical Therapy, in 1994. She went on to earn a Manual Therapy Certification (MTC) awarded by the Institute of Physical Therapy in 1995. Dr. Gabelsberg next earned an Advanced Masters in Orthopedic Physical Therapy from the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences in 1999, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2003.

Dr. Gabelsberg is the creator of the Empowerment in Eight Weeks DVD, which provides visual instruction on an eight week excercise program for patients suffering with Urinary Incontinence.




Course Location
Additional Information

Comprehensive Therapy Services

Street Address:
5677 Oberlin Drive, Suite 106
San Diego , CA 92121
(Map will open in a new window)

Recommended Lodging:

Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Diego-Sorrento Valley
(858) 731-0100

August Course

There is a discounted rate under Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, which will be available up until one month before the course or until all rooms in the block are booked

Holiday Inn San Diego North/Miramar
(858) 695-2300
There is a discounted rate under Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, which will be available up until one month before the course or until all rooms in the block are booked

H&W makes a best effort to find recommended lodging for participants. However, our primary focus is the excellence of the course itself. Participants are encouraged to explore travel options and make the best choice to fit their needs. Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and similar sites may also offer excellent deals to save on travel costs.

Nearest Airport:
San Diego International Airport (map will open in new window)



Have a question about this course? Contact Us

Herman & Wallace is not able to apply discounts retroactively! Please contact us BEFORE registering if you are eligible for one of the discounts below.

Discounts Currently Available for this Event:

First-Time Registrant Discount ($50)
Multi-Course Discount (10%)
Group Discount (10% - 20%)
Student Discount (10%)
Retake/Audit Discount ($100)
JTA Survey Credit/Discount ($50)
Referral Credit/Discount ($50)
Link-Back Credit/Discount ($50)
Guest Blogger Credit/Discount ($50)