About Us

Our Mission

Our Team

Our Trustees

Our Community

Our Mission

To improve the experience and alleviate the suffering of all those affected by pregnancy sickness, including hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). We exist to champion the needs of those suffering with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and HG, and to empower healthcare professionals via evidence based research to provide the standard of care and treatment that all sufferers deserve. 

Dr Barnie-Adshead Founding Trustee 

Our History

Dr Barnie-Adshead first became interested in pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum in the 1960’s as a GP and did some research trying to find the cause. When Dr Gadsby joined the practice in 1979, he too became involved in developing the research. It was clear that the condition was generally under-researched and not fully appreciated & that the natural history of the condition was not well described. Funding was obtained to do a prospective community study, describing the features of pregnancy sickness in 363 women, each of whom delivered a healthy baby. This study was published in 1993 and it has become widely quoted.

In 1998, Dr Gadsby was invited to talk about this research at the first international conference on nausea & vomiting in pregnancy held in Toronto. There he met people from “motherisk” based at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who run a telephone support line for women experiencing pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis. He thought it would be wonderful to be able to provide a similar service here in the UK. Since then Dr Barnie-Adshead and Dr Gadsby have been raising funds and as a result, Pregnancy Sickness Support was registered as a Charitable Trust in 2002.

OUR AIMS AND DEVELOPMENT
  1. The provision of a free helpline to give information and support.
  2. To provide high quality peer support to those suffering.
  3. The production of information to explain the condition and its treatments through various platforms.
  4. Providing resources and information to inform and educate doctors and healthcare professionals about the condition via a range of platforms.
  5. Raising awareness of pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum amongst the general public through media articles and information.
  6. Encouraging further research into the condition, its impacts and treatments.
  7. Engaging in, providing and promoting the patient voice within research into the condition.
  8. Continue to be a leader in the international HG scientific medical research community.
  9. Providing a model and support for sister charities developing nationally and internationally meeting their specific cultural needs.
  10. To engage in quality improvement by auditing core demographic information to ultimately improve accessibility.

Our Journey

Since the charities inception in 2002 we have grown from a small humble charity to a national service that is dedicated to supporting women and birthing people who suffer from pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

We have established an excellent peer support service which evaluation has shown to significantly improve people’s experiences while suffering varying degrees of pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum. We have extended this service to the partners and carers of those who are going through this debilitating condition, as we understand that support for families is also critical in improving overall care for the people at the heart of our mission.

The future sees the development and progression of the HG counselling service which launched early 2023 and aims to bring accessible, condition specific support to those who need it most; whether it is during a pregnancy or after.

Our Team

Up until early 2021 Pregnancy Sickness Support only had two paid members of staff. We have grown significantly since then in response to the demand for our service, and now have more than ten members of staff; allowing us to take the necessary steps in securing the future of PSS. 

PSS TEAM

Charlotte Howden

CHARLOTTE HOWDEN

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 

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Charlotte has been a campaigner and Trustee for PSS since 2018 and is well known for presenting and producing the world’s first documentary about Hyperemesis called ‘Sick – The Battle Against HG’.

Charlotte joined the Charity as CEO in August 2023 and is passionate about progressing the Charity further, building on the legacy of previous COO’s and Charity Managers.

Charlotte has over 20 years experience in marketing, business and PR and is a Law LLB Graduate. As a sufferer herself, she is determined to utilise her years of business experience to develop the Charity further and continue to help sufferers with both the physical and mental aspects of this condition.

CAROLINE LARCOMBE

CHARITY OPERATIONS MANAGER

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Caroline has over 30 years in customer service, client and operations management. Her background is in graphic and interior design and after a long career she joined Pregnancy Sickness Support to fulfil a dream of working in the third sector and supporting a community.

Marianne Eldridge

MARIANNE ELDRIDGE

HELPLINE  MANAGER

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Having been a volunteer with the charity since April 2021, Marianne joined the support team in March 2023 as a point of contact for people contacting the charity via our digital helpline channels for information about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and HG. She is now responsible for matching sufferers for peer support to volunteers within our support network. 

Having suffered with HG in three out of her four pregnancies, Marianne has a good understanding of the condition, and is passionate about working with the charity to improve knowledge and care for those suffering.  Marianne was previously a primary school teacher before taking some time off to be with her family, and is now excited to have officially joined the team here at Pregnancy Sickness Support.

Faye Jepson

CAROLINE RIDGE

COUNSELLING SERVICE MANAGER

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Caroline joined the team in March 2023 as our Counselling Service Coordinator and brings a combination of business and counselling experience to the team.  Caroline has also volunteered as a Peer Support worker for Pregnancy Sickness Support over the last two years.

Working alongside the in-house and volunteer counsellors, Caroline is responsible for ensuring this much needed service is delivered efficiently to current and previous pregnancy sickness sufferers.  Caroline will also continue to explore and secure external funding for the service and work to develop an accessible Mental Health Hub.  As a previous HG sufferer in both her pregnancies, Caroline understands the importance of being able to offer sufferers a same, empathic and confidential space to process their experiences.

LINDSAY SALMON

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

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Lindsay has been involved with Pregnancy Sickness Support since 2014 doing all things volunteering from moderating the forum to fundraising and from peer support to talking to student midwives about HG.

Now stepping into the role as Project Coordinator, Lindsay will develop strong links with other organisations, reinvent our Healthcare Professionals Training, help to build a strong community element to the Pregnancy Sickness Support family and generally bang the drum for the Charity!  Lindsay has a background in teaching and Special Educational Needs coordination in primary schools, but after two HG Pregnancies, she choose to retrain as a Counsellor having experienced the huge benefits that Counselling can bring.

Lindsay’s enthusiasm and passion for supporting women with HG and those recovering from HG has been a driving force in her volunteer work for Pregnancy Sickness Support in her belief that women with HG deserve better, more consistent care.

TUESDAY MCEWAN

VOLUNTEER MANAGER

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Having been a volunteer for the charity for over 3 years, Tuesday became our Peer Support Coordinator and in 2023 progressed into the role of Volunteer Manager.

Tuesday has come from a background of working with challenging behaviour within the education sector, but having suffered a difficult pregnancy with her third son, her passion now lies with the charity and their mission.

NICOLE JESSOP

FREELANCE MARKETING MANAGER

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Nicole Jessop, Founder and CEO of Leon Lloyd London, brings over 8 years of marketing experience to the table. Her expertise spans traditional design, communications, digital strategies, brand collaborations, and event management. Nicole is eager to apply her skills to enhance Pregnancy Sickness Support’s digital presence.

Nicole’s primary objective is to advance Pregnancy Sickness Support’s mission, with a strong focus on raising awareness and cultivating a supportive community for women. Her commitment underscores her dedication to empowering women and driving positive change.

 

 

TERRI NASH

DEVELOPMENT LEAD COUNSELLOR

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Hi, I am Terri and I am an Integrative trauma informed counsellor with over 10 years of experience of working with people who have experienced traumatic life events. Since becoming a mother, myself I have become very passionate about Maternal mental health and the impact someone’s care can have on their recovery. I am passionate about supporting mothers through their journeys especially when faced with debilitating hurdles along the way such as pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum. Whilst we cannot yet cure HG, I believe that a safe, non-judgemental space to explore its impact can be vital in supporting women through the challenges they face with this condition.

Alongside offering HG specialist counselling sessions, Terri will be providing supervision to our volunteer counsellors, providing clinical oversight to the service and its development, training counsellors in understanding the effect of NVP/HG can have on someone’s mental health and contributing to the charities safeguarding policies, procedures and practice.

CATHARINE CHAPPELL

HELPLINE OPERATOR

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Catharine has a background in advice and guidance and has also had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. She joined the charity in 2023 and is hitting the ground running fulfilling her dream of helping women and birthing people through the condition that tormented her second pregnancy.

Our Trustees

The Board of Trustees have varied backgrounds, and all contribute their unique assets and skills to the running of the charity. 

DR CAITLIN DEAN

TRUSTEE – PAST CHAIRPERSON

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Dr Caitlin Dean (Previous Chair) is a Registered General Nurse specialising in hyperemesis gravidarum. She has suffered three times with hyperemesis gravidarum with her 2 boys and 1 daughter, and has undertaken a PhD in Amsterdam to further the research efforts for HG.

In addition to her research, Caitlin spends her time providing education for healthcare professionals writing extensively for both the medical and lay press. Her work for PSS led to the 2015 Third Sector Award for Charity Chair Person of the Year and a Nursing Times Award for Inspirational Nurse Leader.

Her savvy media strategy has ensured that hyperemesis gravidarum has has a consistent and powerful presence in the UK media over the last ten years.

 

DR SHAZIA ZAFAR

CO-CHAIR

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Shaz is a research scientist working at the University of Birmingham in the area of applied health research.  Her current research includes mixed method investigations using both qualitative and quantitative methods on topics directly affecting the public (abuse & violence, mental health, end of life care).

Hyperemesis Gravidarum research consists of 1) investigating the language used by health professionals and patients in doctor-patient/health professional-patient relationships and also 2) investigating how HG affects women in their work places.

She came across PSS only after suffering severely from hyperemesis herself twice.  She also chaired a committee for a different organisation which led to projects such as creating laboratories for the public.

More recently in her Women in Science role, has been the creation of science sessions at Botanical Gardens which were aimed at visiting schools and public but especially for engaging girls in science.

The science sessions included practical experiments and resulted in reaching out to home-schooled children (before the pandemic and lockdown) who had no access to taught science experiments.

After finding out about the wonderful work the charity does to support women she went on to become a volunteer for PSS in order to help and pass on her knowledge and strong scientific experience.

KIRSTY WRIGHT

CO-CHAIR

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Following on from the success of the ICHG conference in 2022, Kirsty was employed as the International Project Manager for the global hyperemises gravidarum network of researchers and charities.

Kirsty remains passionate about the care and treatment in the UK and has joined the board to continually support Pregnancy Sickness Support’s endeavours and provide insight as a former employee. She has seen the development of the charity over recent years and is a keen champion of the services we offer.

DR MARGARET O’HARA

TRUSTEE

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Dr Margaret O’Hara has a background in physics teaching and medical physics research. She is currently the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in Research Lead for University Hospital Birmingham based at the Institute of Translational Medicine.

Having observed several relatives suffer with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, she conducted her own research on treatment protocols before becoming pregnant and found a clinician who prescribed antiemetics as soon as her HG started.

After her pregnancy with her daughter, in 2010 she set up the website www.pregnancysicknesssos.co.uk to disseminate the information that she had gathered and to assist other women to obtain treatment. Using the website, she has conducted surveys of women’s experiences of HG in the UK.

She has been a volunteer for PSS since 2011 and is a co-author on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists clinical practice guidelines for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

REBECCA COLLINGE

TREASURER

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Rebecca is a Chartered Accountant currently working as a Finance Director. She has over 14+ years of experience within the finance industry. 

Rebecca suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) in 2019 which resulted in multiple hospitalisations. The lack of understanding of HG resulted in poor management of her symptoms. Rebecca has been a peer supporter for the Charity since 2020 and is passionate about raising awareness of HG and the impacts it can have both antenatally and postnatally. 

Rebecca is based in Greater Manchester where she lives with her husband, Son and a Toy Poodle called Hulk. 

 

CAROLINE ADSHEAD 

FOUNDING TRUSTEE

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Caroline is the daughter of Dr Tony Barnie-Adshead. She suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum and was lucky to benefit from the knowledge of her father.

She says “It is difficult for people who don’t suffer to understand how unpleasant it can be. I think that the work of this charity is important as it is providing support and information for sufferers and carers”.

Caroline is the previous charity secretary.

DR ROGER GADSBY

FOUNDING TRUSTEE

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Roger has now retired as a GP in Nuneaton and now works for five sessions a week as an Associate Clinical Professor at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick. He has had an interest in pregnancy sickness symptoms since he joined the same practice as Dr Tony Barnie-Adshead in 1979.

Together they have carried out research and published papers and articles on pregnancy sickness symptoms. Roger was awarded an MBE in 2009.

Roger is a previous charity treasurer.

DR ELEANOR DECAMP

TRUSTEE

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Dr Eleanor Decamp suffered HG pregnancies with her two children but was fortunate to have help from Pregnancy Sickness Support, an excellent consultant, and family. Eleanor has a background in fundraising and charity management as the former Director of Development of the Sutton Trust, the charity promoting social mobility through education.

She holds a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Oxford and has on-going academic interests in the medical humanities.

 

Our Community

Patrons of Pregnancy Sickness Support

Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE

Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health from 1992 to 1997. She founded Cumberlege Connections Ltd in 2003 and Cumberlege Eden and Partners in 2013. Both Companies specialise in training and consultancy to the health sector.  Julia started her career in Local Government, as Leader of the Lewes District Council and Chair of Social Services for East Sussex.  She has served on many public bodies and has produced two reports for the Government. She is an Honorary Fellow of five Royal Colleges and has Honorary Degrees from five universities. 

Baroness Cumberlege is currently Chair of the National Maternity Review and has a wealth of experience in healthcare leadership. She has chaired working parties for the Royal College of Physicians – which led to the ‘Doctors in Society’ (2005) and ‘Future Physicians: Changing Doctors in a Changing World’(2010) reports. She is a Patron of the National Childbirth Trust and Vice President of the Royal College of Midwives. In the 1990s she also led a major review on maternity care, producing the ‘Changing Childbirth’ report for the Department of Health.  

CHARITY AMBASSADOR

MICHELLE OWEN

SKY SPORTS PRESENTER

During my pregnancy I suffered from HG and felt so alone until I found PSS. They helped me with a Peer Supporter and were so useful with medical information. It was the worst time of my life in what should have been the happiest. Somehow we got through and have a beautiful baby boy but not everyone is so fortunate, HG is a killer that’s the truth. I want to help women suffering right now who feel isolated, awful and helpless and also raise awareness. The amount of times I got told it was morning sickness was infuriating, we need the world to understand what a horrendous disease this is.”

Michelle will be working with the Pregnancy Sickness Support team to help raise awareness.

Partnerships

Pregnancy Sickness Support recognises the need for inter-organisational working to further the agenda for pregnant women suffering nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. Since our inception we have worked hard to establish good relationships with a number of professional bodies, other charities and organisations with mutual aims. Here are some of the organisations we are proud to partner with.

Pregnancy Sickness Support is a member of the Pregnancy & Baby Charities Network and works alongside other charities.

The Network represents UK charities whose focus includes one or more of the following:

  • to reduce the number of babies who die during pregnancy, birth or in the early weeks of life;
  • to reduce morbidity in newborn babies and improve care for these babies and their parents;
  • to improve care throughout the path to parenthood: before, during and after pregnancy and after losing a baby or pregnancy.

The PBCN is governed by agreed Terms of Reference.

Read their Manifesto 2021 setting out key priorities

Expanded Manifesto with added background information

I called the helpline at a time of despair and was met with kindness and validation. They were the first person to tell me that what I was feeling was not normal and that there is help for me“.

Kelly Jones | London