12 DPO Symptoms: What to Expect and When to Test
If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), then you’re probably eagerly counting the days after ovulation until you can finally take that pregnancy test. You might also be paying extra-close attention to your body, watching out for any possible symptom of early pregnancy.
Once you’re at 12 days past ovulation (DPO), you’re getting closer to being able to tell if you’re pregnant or not. Still, you may not know what to expect or how to tell if you’re pregnant or not during this critical time in your cycle.
Here are the symptoms of early pregnancy you should look out for when you’re 12 DPO, and when you should take a pregnancy test for the most accurate results.
What Is 12 DPO?
DPO stands for “days past ovulation” so 12 DPO means you are nearing the end of the infamous two week wait and are close to being able to take a pregnancy test reliably.
You are most fertile six days before and on the day of ovulation. As a result, couples who are TTC will try to time sex to conincide with this time of the month. Unfortunately, it takes a few weeks after ovulation to know if you succeeded in getting pregnant or not — hence the two week wait.
At 14 DPO, you’ll be able to take a pregnancy test for the most accurate results. At 12 DPO, you’re approaching the two-week marker (14 DPO) but not quite there yet, though there are usually a few symptoms that are starting to emerge if you’re pregnant.
What Are the Pregnancy Symptoms at 12 DPO?
Even if you can’t take a pregnancy test yet, you might be able to observe certain signs of early pregnancy in your body at 12 DPO. As levels of the hormone hCG rise in early pregnancy, your body goes through many changes that you might start to notice by this time.
You might notice slight cramping at 12 DPO. At first, you may assume the cramping is due to PMS — but don’t lose hope! Cramping at 12 DPO can also occur due to implantation, the process of a fertilized egg burrowing into the uterine lining. This process can cause stretching of the uterus, which you might feel as mild-to-moderate cramps.
Changes in Breasts
Breast changes are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you may start to notice some of these changes around 12 DPO, such as aching, sensitivity, or darkening of the nipple and areola. These changes all occur due to rising hormone levels in preparation for breastfeeding a newborn infant. While breast sensitivity and aching can also be a sign of PMS as well as early pregnancy, nipple changes are rarely due to your period.
There’s no need to panic if you start spotting at 12 DPO: it doesn’t necessarily mean that your period has arrived early! During implantation, you may experience light brown or pink discharge. Known as implantation bleeding, this spotting occurs during the process of the embryo implanting in the uterine lining and can be another sign of early pregnancy.
Some women always experience fatigue at 12 DPO due to PMS — but for others, it may be unusual to find themselves more tired than usual around this time of the month. If this is the case for you, then feeling unusually fatigued at 12 DPO may be a sign of early pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body, even in the early stages. All the prep work your body has to do to grow a baby can result in some serious fatigue!
Peeing more often at 12 DPO may be a sign of early pregnancy. As the uterus grows and stretches to house the fetus, it may start to press on your bladder. This can lead to you feeling like you need to pee more often. Even if you just went, the sensation of your uterus pressing on your bladder can trick your brain into thinking your bladder is full.
By 12 DPO, you may start to experience nausea or vomiting. Morning sickness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy — and, despite the name, can take place at any time of day. If you’re TTC and find yourself feeling sick around 12 DPO, you might want to rethink whether it’s just food poisoning. There’s always a chance that you could be pregnant!
What to Do If You Don’t Have Symptoms at 12 Days Past Ovulation
So, you’ve done everything right — you had sex during your fertile window; you haven’t taken a pregnancy test too early — and yet you still aren’t experiencing symptoms of early pregnancy at 12 DPO. What now?
First of all, don’t panic. If you are at 12 DPO, it’s technically been less than two weeks since conception. Many women do not experience these symptoms this early in their pregnancy. This may be more likely if your mother did not have strong pregnancy symptoms at this point, either, since pregnancy symptoms seem to have a genetic component.
Even if you aren’t having symptoms by 12 DPO, you should still plan to take a pregnancy test at the two-week mark, or on the first day of your next expected period. By then, levels of the hormone hCG should be high enough for a positive pregnancy test, even if you don’t feel pregnant yet. Mira can help you determine the best time to take a pregnancy test by tracking your fertility hormone concentrations to detect 14 DPO with greater accuracy.
When Should You Test?
When you’re hoping for that BFP (a.k.a. “Big Fat Positive”) result on your pregnancy test, you might get over-eager and want to test as soon as possible. While you can certainly take a pregnancy test at 12 DPO, it’s important to keep in mind that the best time to test is, at minimum, two weeks after ovulation, or on the first day of your next expected period.
At 12 DPO, your hCG levels may not have risen high enough to detect pregnancy, even if you are pregnant. This can result in a false-negative pregnancy test. Alternatively, you might have an early miscarriage called a chemical pregnancy which can cause a false-positive test result. If you have a chemical pregnancy, testing again two weeks after ovulation, or on the first day of your next expected period, will lead to a negative result.
What Does It Mean to Get a BFP at 12 DPO?
Before you start celebrating your BFP result, keep in mind that 12 DPO is still very early to tell if you are pregnant or not. At 12 DPO, there is a chance that your test results could be a false-positive.
The best way to tell if your BFP is accurate is to test again at 14 DPO, or on the first day of your next expected period. If you can’t wait that long, see if you can make a doctor’s appointment — your OB/GYN should be able to tell you for certain if you are actually pregnant or not.
What Does It Mean to Get a BFN at 12 DPO?
Likewise, you shouldn’t mourn getting a BFN, or “Big Fat Negative,” pregnancy test result at 12 DPO. Because 12 DPO is still early to take a pregnancy test, your hCG levels might not have risen high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test, even if you actually are pregnant.
Again, the best way to tell if you are pregnant for certain is to wait until at least 14 DPO to take a pregnancy test. If you can’t wait that long, talk to your OB/GYN, who may be able to tell you if you are pregnant before then.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treatingcouples and individuals with infertility since 2014.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation.
Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.