1. Lindgren, Emilia Biskop RNM
  2. Thernstrom Blomqvist, Ylva PhD, RNP
  3. Diderholm, Barbro PhD, MD
  4. Grandahl, Maria PhD, RNP


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.