The Duchess of Cambridge met with staff and parents at Kingston Hospital maternity ward recently ahead of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week which starts today (May 4).

On April 22, Kate spoke with spoke with midwives at Kingston Hospital, where she worked for two days of work experience last year.

A spokesperson for the hospital described the conversation:

"She heard about the ways in which the staff at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are ensuring that women continue to have the best possible support before, during and after birth.

"She also spoke with new mother, Rebecca Attwood, on the maternity ward about her experience."

Rebecca offered her thoughts after speaking with the Duchess.

"Having a baby is an extraordinary experience at any time, but having one during lockdown and then having a surprise conversation with the Duchess of Cambridge after two hours’ sleep was particularly surreal!" She said.

"The Duchess asked us about having a baby at such an unusual time, and our experience on the maternity ward was that all the midwives made it as normal as possible – apart from the masks, it was exactly the same as when we had our first son Rafe, in 2015.

"The midwives at Kingston Hospital were amazing on both occasions," Rebecca added.

Jennifer Tshibamba, a midwife at Kingston Hospital, meanwhile reiterated the staff's commitment to mothers during the coronavirus crisis:

“I want women to know we’re still here, we’re still open. Even with what’s going on, we’re here to listen to you, we’re still here to make sure we provide you with the best care for your pregnancy, for your baby and support your family," she said.

UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week aims to create wider awareness of maternal mental health and signpost support for parents.

Typically more than 1 in 10 women will experience a mental illness during pregnancy or in the first postnatal year, and around 7 in 10 will hide or underplay the severity of their illness.