Week 13 onwards

You've made it; you're now in the glory days of the second trimester, which for many women (not all, sorry!) is a time when the nausea stops and your energy levels pick up. It's a great time to start thinking about safe exercise to make the most of your newfound lease of life.

Dr Arva advises: "You can continue exercising in pregnancy, however it should be done in moderation. If you get breathless as you talk then you are probably exercising too strenuously. Swimming is a good exercise option.

"Don't lie flat on your back for too long, especially after 16 weeks of pregnancy, as the weight of your bump presses on the blood vessels and can make you feel faint."

There are many prenatal fitness classes in the UAE and they are a fantastic way to meet other mums-to-be.

“To maintain fitness while pregnant aim for 20-30 mins of moderate activity most days”

Fiona Donald, fitness & nutrition specialist, Urban Energy, says: "You can start exercising as soon as you get the all clear from your doctor that it is safe for you to exercise.

"Stick to what you have been doing. Pregnancy is not the time to try and improve your fitness levels but rather a time to maintain fitness. You shouldn't work out more than you did prior to pregnancy. If you are used to working out at a moderate to hard intensity then this is quite safe for you.

"If you have not been exercising prior to becoming pregnant it is okay to start as long as you listen to your body, and don't try to do too much. In general, pregnant women have the same exercise guidelines as non-pregnant women - aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week."

Read more Celebrity mums who stayed fit during pregnancy – and how they did it

And Fiona believes there is a long list of benefits connected to working out during pregnancy, for both mum and baby. She says: "What I call 'fit' babies are just that, fit - tougher and better able to handle potential problems. They are more relaxed during labour and adapt more readily to life on the outside. They are also at less risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes or heart disease."

Aside from group prenatal classes at companies like Urban Energy, Pure Fitness and Smart Fitness, there are a host of other options to consider, from one-on-one personal training, to prenatal yoga, which can be done at a range of venues across the UAE, or at home with a good online tutorial.

This is also a great time to kick back with a good book and when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth there are endless titles to choose from. The What To Expect series offers practical tips and advice, guiding you stage by stage through everything from pregnancy to baby's first year. Dads can get on the act too, with books like The Expectant Father a great introduction to the whole experience from a male point of view.

Another point to consider at this stage is when to tell your employer, although you are under no obligation to tell your boss straight away.

Find out here everything you need to know about your rights under UAE labour law when it comes to maternity leave and returning to work.

Other things to consider:

Now is a great time to start thinking about different birthing options

State of mind

Hypnobirthing classes are offered in private clinics or some practitioners offer private classes in your own home. The cost of classes is usually around Dh2,500 to Dh4,500 and covers everything from deep relaxation techniques and creating a calm birthing environment to an exploration of attitudes around birthing and labour over the decades.

Some Dubai providers include Dubai Doulas, Love Parenting, Babies and Beyond, and Cecile De Scally's classes at Malaak.

Water babies

Interested in a water birth? Doula Elizabeth Bain says: "Water births are offered at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai, while staff at City Hospital and Saudi German hospital have been trained in the practice so check out the options there too.

"Do your homework and know what you want for your birth. Many women don't make that choice until they are in labour and of course that is okay too. Remember you can get in and out of the water whenever you want - you can also labour in water and get out to give birth. It is all about you and what you want!"

Read more about hypnobirthing, giving birth with a doula and water birth options.

Read next: Your guide to weeks 20 to 27