About us

Pregnancy Sickness Support was founded in 2002 and is the only registered UK charity working to improve care, treatment and support for women and pregnant people suffering from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) and the severe form of the condition, hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

We are a small charity and rely heavily on donations and fundraising but we have grown rapidly thanks to the hard work and dedication of our small team and supporters. We are involved in ongoing research into the cause and treatment of NVP and HG and the psychological impact for sufferers and their families.

Long term, we would like to see the charity grow to reflect the national need for support of these conditions.


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 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. The work has been described in a number of newspaper articles and Dr Gadsby has spoken on the BBC radio 4 programme "You and Yours" on two occasions and he was "referee" for the British Medical Journal, Breath of Learning article: Treatments for nausea and vomiting Oct 2004.

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.

Following the 2011 conference, PSS has seen the introduction of new trustees and an increase in fundraising activity and volunteer recruitment. A national peer support network was set up to match volunteers of our charity, who have previously suffered with HG, with those who are currently experiencing the condition. Since then, PSS has gradually built up its network and currently has around 150 active volunteers supporting sufferers. The development of Dr Caitlin Dean's HG specific healthcare professional training has been increasingly popular; trying to tackle the cause of mistreatment and misunderstanding from the inside out.

How you can support us

If it wasn't for the helpline I wouldn't have got the help and the treatment I needed to cope.