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Midwifery. 2005 Jun;21(2):131-8. Epub 2005 Mar 28.

Mothers' lived experiences of co-care and part-care after birth, and their strong desire to be close to their baby.

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  • 1Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Box 833, S-721 23 Västerås, Sweden.



To describe how mothers of premature or sick mature babies, experienced the care and their own state of health after birth in postnatal care in a neonatal co-care ward.


A Husserlian phenomenology method inspired by Giorgi was used. Six mothers were interviewed using a semi-structured, open-ended interview guide.


A neonatal ward using a concept of co-care for premature or sick mature babies and their mothers.


In essence, mothers felt that, whatever the circumstances, they wanted to be close to their babies. It was the mother's experience that the organisation, staff or other circumstances prolonged the separation from her baby. The mother experienced the separation from the baby intensely during the first days after birth (even for a short period of time); after returning home, they had still not come to terms with it. The mothers regarded the entire stay in hospital as one event; they did not differentiate between wards or ward staff in the delivery, maternity or neonatal wards. All mothers in the study had, therefore, also experienced part-care for shorter or longer periods when separated from their baby, being then later reunited in co-care.


This study can be used as a basis for discussion on more individualised care through co-operation and organisation between delivery, maternity and neonatal wards, in order to reduce the amount of time mother and baby are separated.

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