Nicola Sturgeon has said couples who lose an unborn child should receive paid leave from work, in line with a proposal being developed in New Zealand.

The First Minister, who has revealed she suffered a miscarriage in 2011, said it would help remove the “taboo and stigma” around it.

New Zealand is looking at having three days of paid bereavement leave for women and their partners after a miscarriage or a stillbirth.

New Zealanders are already entitled to leave after the death of family members or children.

UK law currently entitles women who have a stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy to maternity leave and associated pay but not bereavement leave.

Holyrood does not have the power to introduce miscarriage leave, as employment law is reserved to Westminster.

However Ms Sturgeon said she would strongly support its introduction UK-wide.

Asked about the New Zealand idea on ITV’s Loose Women, she said: “I would support that. I feel really strongly about trying to remove the stigma around miscarriage. People feel it’s not something they can or should talk about.

“People don’t talk about being pregnant until after three months, and the whole implication of that is that if you miscarry, it’s something you keep to yourself often.

“It’s really difficult. It’s a difficult thing to go through. When you can’t talk to anybody apart from your partner about it, then I think that makes it more difficult.

“I don’t think you should have to take leave if you don’t feel that’s something you need to do, but I think there should be much greater understanding, and society generally should try to adapt a bit more.”

She said her miscarriage had also been hard on her husband Peter Murrell, chief executive of the SNP.

She said: “That’s another part of the taboo. If it’s hard for a woman to talk about it, it’s possibly even harder for a man, and it’s heartbreaking and really traumatic for a man as well.”

She said people assumed she had taken a “really hard-nosed decision” to prioritise a career over a family.

She said; “I don’t think women should be judged for the reasons why they do or don’t have children because men aren’t, and it’s one of these areas where I do think we still need to see a little bit of progress.”

Mr Murrell also cropped up when presenter Gloria Hunniford asked Ms Sturgeon who “de-stressed” her.

“It’s a daytime show,” Ms Sturgeon joked awkwardly. “I love reading books. That’s the safe answer.”

What about Peter your husband? Ms Hunniford persisted.

“Yes, he can de-stress me from time to time,” Ms Sturgeon said hiding her face and blushing.

The First Minister also said she was backing Green MP Caroline Lucas’s call for an all-female emergency cabinet to avoid a no-deal Brexit and call a People’s Vote..

Ms Lucas wrote to a series of senior female politicians proposing the idea at the weekend.

Asked if she had responded, Ms Sturgeon said: “I have. I’m happy to work with anybody - male or female, I have to say - to try to stop Brexit and in particular to try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which I think would be really, really damaging.

“I’m all for more women in politics. I think we can bring a different perspective, but I do feel duty bound to point out the former Prime Minister was a woman and didn’t manage to sort out Brexit, so there’s maybe a flaw in that argument.

“I’m a big fan of Caroline’s. I think she’s a fantastic MP, so I’m more than happy to band together with a bunch of other women to see if we can bring some common sense.”

As the show flitted between topics, Ms Sturgeon also reacted to singer Miley Cyrus splitting from actor Liam Hemsworth after seven months of marriage.

Discussing whether to go back out with an ex, she said: “My philosophy in life tends to be keep moving forward, try not to look back, try not to have regrets.

“In relationships it’s not something I’ve done. It depends, if you broke up in the first place, unless you really resolve that, perhaps you’re going to repeat the same mistakes over again.”

Asked about her relationship with Boris Johnson, she concluded: “Boris and I... are not very alike. He is, you know, that kind of guy that talks nonsense but has that swagger, confidence and conviction.”