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To Feel Abandoned in an Insecure Situation: Parents' Experiences of Separation From Their Newborn Due to the Mother Being COVID-19 Positive
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Obstetrics and Reproductive Health Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Perinatal, Neonatal and Pediatric Cardiology Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5955-1278
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Perinatal, Neonatal and Pediatric Cardiology Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2953-5485
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Obstetrics and Reproductive Health Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4553-6656
2023 (English)In: Advances in Neonatal Care, ISSN 1536-0903, E-ISSN 1536-0911, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 304-310Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: 

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in changes in neonatal care, sometimes resulting in a separation between parents and their newborn. Knowledge about parents' experiences of this separation is limited.

Purpose: 

To explore parents' experiences of separation from their newborn due to COVID-19.

Methods: 

Interviews with parents (n = 11) separated from their newborn.

Results: 

The parents' experiences of being separated from their newborn were expressed under 3 themes: “To create a sense of safety in an insecure situation”; “Unexpected start to parenthood”; and “To be reunited.” Parents felt abandoned and alone, even if they had support from significant others. Although they considered the separation as undesired, wanting to be with their newborn infant, it was secondary to not wanting to infect the infant with COVID-19. Furthermore, lacking information about a potentially lethal virus adds to the uncertainty that comes with having a newborn. The separation affected the whole family, some for a long time afterward.

Implications for Practice and Research: 

If a new situation with potentially life-threatening effects, like the COVID-19 pandemic, occurs again, considering the experiences of these parents is paramount. Precautions should be taken to minimize the potential harm. If a separation between newborns and parents is inevitable, parents need preparation and transparent information prior to the separation and before the reunion. Well-thought-out policies must be in place to minimize the impact of a separation on both parties. Parents should be able to have a deputy parent present during an undesired but necessary separation from their newborn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wolters Kluwer, 2023. Vol. 23, no 4, p. 304-310
Keywords [en]
COVID-19, neonatal intensive care unit, parents, perinatal, separation
National Category
Pediatrics Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-509999DOI: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000001073ISI: 001039213900006PubMedID: 36999904OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-509999DiVA, id: diva2:1791979
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 19040/19046H.R.H. Crown Princess Lovisa's Association for Child CareGillbergska stiftelsenAvailable from: 2023-08-28 Created: 2023-08-28 Last updated: 2024-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Biskop Lindgren, EmiliaThernström Blomqvist, YlvaDiderholm, BarbroGrandahl, Maria

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