Campaigners are calling on the Government to save unborn babies' lives by developing better pregnancy screening in Northern Ireland.
Cathy Martin, managing director of CMPR public relations agency and organiser of Belfast Fashion Week, has opened her heart to the Belfast Telegraph after suffering the stillbirth of baby daughter Rosie just a few weeks ago.
Our guest columnist outlines why she is now getting behind the stillbirth and neo-natal death charity, Sands, after suffering the tragedy.
It's calling on the Government to develop new ways of screening pregnant woman to identify which unborn babies are at greater risk.
Jillian Boyd (29), from Belfast, is dedicated to raising awareness of the risks of Group B Streptococcus, (GBS), a common bacteria that, in unusual cases, can cause serious illness or death in newborn babies.
Her baby daughter Erin died 15 weeks ago. Jillian told the Belfast Telegraph stillbirth is a major but rarely discussed issue, adding that in other parts of Europe and countries such as America, Australia, Canada and Kenya, where a test for Group B Strep is offered during pregnancy, infection rates and fatalities have fallen by over 80%.
"It's found in up to 30% of the population but was never detected in me because in the UK there is no routine testing," she said.
Banbridge couple, Sarah and Mark Cowan's baby son Harry died on April 27. Sarah (27), an occupational therapist, said more information must be given to parents.
A seven-mile sponsored Memory Walk will take place for Erin Boyd along Strangford Lough on August 27 to raise funds for the Group B Strep Support group (www.gbss.org.uk).
Health Minister Edwin Poots ruled out routine screening for GBS on the NHS in June, but promised to monitor the situation. In a statement, he said it was understandable that parents whose children had died after contracting the infection were calling for screening.
But he said the UK National Screening Committee (NSC), the body which advises the four UK health departments on screening programmes, had kept under review the evidence for screening for Group B Streptococcal infection.
"Following the most recent review in 2009, the NSC reaffirmed its advice that screening for GBS should not be offered," he said.
Stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy
Neo-natal death is when a baby is born alive but dies within the first 28 days of life
17 babies die every day in the UK - 11 are stillbirths and six are neo-natal deaths
Ten times more babies are stillborn than die of cot death every year in the UK
The stillbirth rate has remained almost unchanged for the past 10 years
One in every 200 babies are stillborn in the UK