A teenager with mental health difficulties has given birth after doctors were granted permission to perform a caesarean section, despite her desire to be 'awake and aware' when her baby was born.
A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation in which a baby is delivered through a cut made in the woman's tummy and womb. The cut is usually made just below the bikini line.
The 16-year-old, from Wigan in Greater Manchester, expressed her 'strong wish' to be awake for the birth and to give birth naturally, her lawyers said.
However, healthcare professionals at Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust asked the judge at a public hearing on Friday to decide what would be in the teenager's best interests.
Judges in the Court of Protection look at issues relating to individuals who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
The judge was told how teenager has mental health difficulties, as well as a history of sexual exploitation, which specialists explained would make a C-section birth the 'realistic' option, as opposed to a vaginal birth.
At the public hearing on Friday, which took place in the Court of Protection in London, Mr Justice Cobb was also told that the 16-year-old was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as an anxiety disorder, which has already made attempts to induce the birth unsuccessful.
Barrister Peter Mant, on behalf of the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's legal team, explained that the girl's views on the birth had changed a number of times recently, adding that professionals believed it was in her interests to give birth via C-section, and that there was 'significant risk of still birth'.
The youngster was represented by barrister Mungo Wenban-Smith, and explained she had a 'strong wish' to birth her baby with the 'least intervention' and to be 'awake and aware' when the baby arrived.
Mr Justice Cobb ruled it would be lawful for the teenager to be given a caesarean section, if necessary.
He explained that doctors should make one more attempt to induce birth, but that the c-section would be within the law if deemed necessary.
Reporting on the case was embargoed until after the baby's birth, after legal teams raised concerns over the teenager recognising herself in the news reports and behaving in a manner which could have put herself or her baby at risk.
If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone
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