Weeks 6 to 10

Even though baby is around the size of a grain of rice, facial features are already starting to form and baby's heart is dividing into four chambers, beating twice as fast as yours. There won't be any outward signs you're pregnant just yet, but many women are already experiencing common symptoms, such as morning sickness.

At the risk of inducing more nausea, it's a good idea to check out insurance options now. This goes hand in hand with choosing a doctor and hospital for the duration of your pregnancy, and delivery. Check what's covered by any existing policies you have, through either your or your husband's employer. Every insurer is different and will offer varying levels of coverage, with some hospitals covered, and some not. Check out the types of care within the policy, whether there is a limit on the amount you spend, or whether epidurals and elective C-sections cost extra. 

Read our guide to Everything you need to know about UAE maternity insurance

The cost of a pregnancy in the UAE can range from Dh20,000 to Dh30,000 including ultrasounds, gynaecologist consultations and hospital stays, so it pays to do your homework. It's also worth remembering that most health insurance policies don't kick in unless you have been insured for at least six to 12 months prior to your pregnancy, as pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. 

All insurance must now include an essential  benefits maternity package

Cecile de Scally, lead parent educator at Malaak Mama and Baby Care, says: "Once you know you are pregnant you need to think about where you want to have your prenatal care and give birth. Choosing the doctor and hospital are the most important first steps you need to take.

"Ensure that your insurance will cover this and any emergencies for you and your new baby. This decision is often by referral and insurance coverage more than anything else, but you must feel comfortable with the doctor and be able to ask questions."

Have a think about your preferences, speak to other women about their experiences, and check out Facebook groups like Real Mums Dubai to get recommendations from women who have been there and done it. Dr Aisha says: "Choosing a doctor is about personal preference. Take into account the doctor's reputation, where they hold their clinics, which hospital they deliver, as well as more important matters such as do they perform vaginal deliveries? Will they manage your antenatal care as well as the delivery?"

For Dr Arva, looking into all the available options is key. "Do your research, book an appointment to see her/him. Choose a hospital which you can easily access. Visit the hospital. Look at the facilities it offers such as birthing options, breastfeeding support, baby friendly initiatives, neonatal services, etc." For more information on choosing a hospital and doctor in the UAE see our full guides: 

How to choose your birth hospital in the UAE
Pregnant in the UAE: How to choose your doctor

Week 11 to 13 

Now is the time for your first-trimester dating scan, which can be an exciting and anxious time, as it's a chance to have a peek at baby, get your most accurate due date, but also check for any potential issues. After the scan, you'll leave clutching a picture of your baby, albeit looking a bit alien, having heard the reassuring sound of their tiny heartbeat.

Dr Arva explains: "At the first trimester scan, between 11 and 14 weeks, the doctor will date the pregnancy based on the crown-rump length of the baby, measure the nuchal translucency [the space in the tissue at the back of your baby's neck] and detect any major structural abnormalities that can be identified. This scan is an abdominal scan. A blood test may also be done to screen for Down's syndrome."

Read next: Your guide to weeks 13 to 20