14/08/2014 16:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Judge Says Mentally Ill Mother Can Be Forced To Have Emergency C-Section

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Hands on pregnant belly

A judge has ruled that an expectant mother can be forced to have an emergency caesarean.

The 36-year-old woman, a paranoid schizophrenic, claims that voices in her head are telling her not co-operate.

But the Telegraph reports that on Wednesday, her local health authority secured permission from a high court judge to carry out a C-section if her doctors believe it is necessary.

The judge ruled that she did not have the mental capacity to make the decision.

The woman - who can be named only as Mrs P - is between 35-37 weeks pregnant and following the ruling, medical staff have been given permission to induce her labour immediately.

At the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Peter Jackson said: "The fact is that this decision has to be taken on Mrs P's behalf because she simply cannot appreciate the risks of one course and another."

He said that although his decision was an 'intervention of a very serious kind' and Mrs P is 'very opposed to having a c-section', he was making the order 'in her best interests'.

Under the order, medical staff are permitted to use restraint and sedation during the labour, if they see fit.

The woman, from Bangladesh, already has three children. She developed post natal depression in 2002 after the birth of her second child and both children were taken into care. The third child, a daughter, was born by C-section in 2005, in Bangladesh, where she remains.

It is understood the woman had split up with her husband in the summer.

The newspaper says she was detained under the Mental Health Act late last month, shortly after returning from a visit to Bangladesh.

A team of mental health workers visited her at her home and found she had been 'severely neglecting herself'.

She had previously been sectioned for five months in August 2012 and been put on medication.

She was described in court as having a 'very severe mental health illness'.

Doctors at the trust - in southern England - are concerned that they may have to perform an emergency C-section if her labour fails to develop.

They are worried she may suffer a potentially life threatening rupture, along the scar left by her earlier C-section.

In a further complication, Mrs P also has type 2 diabetes, meaning her baby is relatively large, further increasing the chances of a rupture. Her doctors warn she is a 'very high risk pregnancy'.

The medical team want to induce labour immediately, and allow Mrs P to try a natural labour.

However, they want the option of performing an emergency C-section if they feel it is necessary to protect the welfare either of the mother or her baby.

Her consultant obstetrician told the court that in some recent conversations Mrs P did not appear to resist such a course of action.

In other discussions, though, she had opposed c-sections and doctors are concerned she may again change her mind.

The case has echoes of that of Allesandra Pacchieri, an Italian woman forced to have her baby delivered by C-section and then removed from her by Essex social services.