Nicola Sturgeon has said her grief over suffering a miscarriage will stay with her forever.
The outgoing First Minister spoke of her personal experience of baby loss as she announced details of a new Memorial Book, in which parents can record details of infants lost prior to 24 weeks in pregnancy.
The book, which will be available this summer, will allow those who have undergone such an experience to apply for a commemorative certificate, allowing them to record their loss and for their child to be recognised.
Ms Sturgeon, who has spoken previously about how she miscarried in 2011 while she was deputy first minister, said: “The loss of a pregnancy or a baby is always painful.
“I have spoken in the past about my personal experience of miscarriage, and I know the sense of grief will stay with me and my husband forever.
“I also know that we would have drawn comfort at the time if there had been a way for us to mark the loss and formally recognise the child we were grieving.”
She said that the Memorial Book, which will be produced jointly by the Scottish Government and National Records of Scotland, would give parents the opportunity “if they wish it, to commemorate their loss with a physical record, and to have their child recognised”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am very proud to support the Memorial Book and hope that it will bring comfort to those experiencing the pain of baby loss.
Both entries in the Memorial Book and commemorative certificates marking pregnancy loss will be both voluntary and free of charge.
Applications to record the loss of babies before 24 weeks of a pregnancy will begin from the summer of this year – though there is no statutory requirement to register the loss, and all information will be given voluntarily.
To be eligible the loss must have taken place in Scotland, or those applying must be living in the country.
There is no requirement for medical evidence to be submitted as evidence of loss, and historical applications will be welcomed.
A person can also register more than one pregnancy loss, although each one will require a separate application.