Court-authorised caesarean section for a mother with sickle cell disease who wants her baby to “see her face first”

I was struck when RO said “I don’t want to kill my baby”. I was already feeling disappointed for RO throughout the hearing, but these words left me feeling extremely sad for her. Was she feeling like the clinicians involved in her care were viewing her as killing her baby? 

Caesarean: An emergency hearing

More than anything, I hope for better advance planning for pregnant women with mental health challenges in the future, so that they can exercise their right to bodily autonomy (even if that means making decisions that others see as unwise or morally repugnant) and can have their wishes and feelings fully acknowledged and respected in best interests decisions made about them.

Elective caesarean in her best interests

Despite guidance concerning applications for court-sanctioned interventions in childbirth, it’s common for cases to come before the court (as here) where women are within 4 weeks of their expected delivery, and judges regularly express concern that they are having to make decisions about childbirth for women close to (or even after) their due dates. 

C-section and anaesthesia: An unexpected unified decision

There had been two major changes in the situation since the first hearing a week ago. Firstly, SM’s baby was now in the breech position. Secondly, as expressed by Mr Justice Holman, the Trust was now “not necessarily resistant to doing some form of spinal anaesthesia on the day if that is her express preference and she is cooperative”.