Sperlich co-authors research on trauma-informed pain management during labor

Published December 7, 2023


Mickey Sperlich

Mickey Sperlich.

Mickey Sperlich, PhD, associate professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, co-authored a new paper investigating the effectiveness of a continuing education intervention for nurses around trauma-informed pain management in labor and delivery. 

The study was published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing. 

Sperlich's colleagues on the project were lead author Kayla LeMarbe, a certified nurse-midwife at Oakland Macomb Obstetrics & Gynecology, as well as co-authors Yasamin Kusunoki, PhD, and Julia Seng, PhD, both faculty members from the University of Michigan School of Nursing.



There is a gap in the availability of continuing education opportunities for labor and delivery nurses regarding trauma-informed perinatal care.


A continuing education module on trauma-informed pain management in labor was created and distributed to 17 nurses in an intrapartum unit at a hospital in the midwestern United States. Changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and intent to use trauma-informed principles were assessed using a pretest/post-test design and paired test analyses.


Change in knowledge (p = .043) and skills (p = .011) was statistically significant. There were no statistically significant changes in attitudes.


Continuing education opportunities in trauma-informed perinatal care are needed for health care team members who provide care to trauma survivors in labor. Further research on the effectiveness of trauma-informed pain management in labor and birth is necessary to provide additional resources and recommendations for labor and delivery nurses.

Graphic with hands raised.

This research contributes to one of the Grand Challenges for Social Work tackling our nation's toughest social problems: Ensure healthy development for youth.