1 to 3 DPO Symptoms: What to Expect and When to Test
At 1 to 3 days past ovulation (DPO), it’s still quite early to tell if you are pregnant or not. While some women do experience symptoms a few days after conception, many women do not.
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, your body and hormones will shift at 1 to 3 DPO, either due to early pregnancy or natural changes that happen during your menstrual cycle. As a result, you might experience physical signs and this post will explore what 1-3 DPO symptoms to expect and how to determine what each means (if anything).
What Happens to Your Body at 1-3 DPO?
At 1 to 3 DPO, you are beginning the journey known as the “two-week wait” (TWW). This refers to the roughly 14 days it takes for the pregnancy hormone hCG to rise high enough to become detectable on a home pregnancy test. For the most accurate results, you shouldn’t take a pregnancy test until the TWW is up.
If you are pregnant, you may or may not experience symptoms at 1 to 3 DPO. If you aren’t pregnant, you could still also experience some early PMS symptoms around this time. Because many of these symptoms are the same, it can be confusing to tell whether you are pregnant or not this early in the game. If you are pregnant, you might find that these symptoms become worse as time goes on, whereas PMS may improve as you approach your period.
During early pregnancy, hormonal changes are responsible for many of the symptoms you may experience. These hormonal changes include rising levels of estrogen, progesterone, and the pregnancy hormone hCG. Your hormones trigger various changes in your body that help it prepare for pregnancy, but they may also be responsible for the symptoms of early pregnancy. At 1-3 DPO, you may start to experience cramping, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, and backaches.
You might get tired of not knowing and feel tempted to test early. However, as frustrating as it can be to wait, make sure you stick out the entire TWW before taking a pregnancy test. Taking a pregnancy test too early can cause false-positive or false-negative results. 1 to 3 DPO is definitely too early for a pregnancy test to work — even the super-sensitive blood tests used in the doctor’s office may not be able to tell by this time.
If you’re itching to take action, instead of taking a pregnancy test, you may want to consider tracking your hormonal changes with the Mira digital fertility tracker. Mira can help you identify rising levels of estrogen and progesterone during the TWW to give you some idea of whether or not you are pregnant. You can continue to track with Mira until you are able to take a pregnancy test after the TWW is up — and, if you are not pregnant, you can also use Mira to more accurately pinpoint your ovulation to get pregnant during your next cycle.
What Pregnancy Symptoms Should You Be Feeling 1-3 Days Past Ovulation?
Because 1 to 3 DPO is so soon after conception, you shouldn’t panic if you don’t experience symptoms. If possible, try not to hyper-fixate on what your body is doing while also remaining aware of any changes you experience, especially if you are hoping to get pregnant.
Here’s what to look out for, without obsessing over it, at 1 to 3 DPO:
Cramping at 3 DPO
Yes, some women experience cramps during implantation, or the process of a fertilized embryo implanting in the uterine lining (a.k.a. the endometrium). This step is important to pregnancy because the developing fetus gets nutrients from the endometrium. These cramps can feel a lot like PMS or period cramps, which can be confusing. You might also experience some implantation bleeding or brown discharge during this time.
Between cramps and bleeding, it may be difficult to tell if you are getting your period early or if you are experiencing implantation. Keep an eye out for other symptoms of early pregnancy to help you tell the difference.
Fatigue at 3 DPO
Yes, you might feel fatigued at 1-3 DPO. Growing a baby is a lot of work! If you are pregnant, your body is going through a lot to prepare for the next nine months, beginning from the moment of conception.
Some of the steps your body takes to prepare, such as developing milk ducts to prepare for lactation, can be exhausting. However, fatigue usually doesn’t show up until a week or so after conception, but it may start to rear its head at 1-3 DPO.
Bloating at 3 DPO
Yes, you may experience bloating at 1-3 DPO. Many women experience bloating in early pregnancy as their body begins developing excess progesterone which helps thicken the uterine lining to support the growing fetus. Unfortunately, bloating can be a side effect of rising progesterone levels since high progesterone may slow your digestion. Slowed digestion leads to increased gas production, causing bloating which is common during the TWW and possible as early as 1-3 DPO.
Breast Tenderness at 3 DPO
Yes — for many women, breast pain and tenderness is the first sign of pregnancy they experience. Breast tenderness can make your breasts feel heavy and swollen. You might also have extreme nipple sensitivity. All of these symptoms occur alongside the changes happening in your breasts as they prepare for lactation. Most pregnant women first experience breast tenderness one to two weeks after ovulation, though it’s not impossible for it to start as early as 1-3 DPO.
Backaches at 3 DPO
Yes, backaches may happen at 1-3 DPO! Back pain is not often talked about, but it is a common sign of early pregnancy. Many women experience backaches during early pregnancy due to hormonal changes and stress. These hormones loosen your joints to prepare for pregnancy, and back pain may be a side effect. The added stress of planning for a baby certainly does not help!
You’re more likely to experience backaches in early pregnancy if you are overweight or if you have a history of back pain before pregnancy. In some cases, these backaches may start as early as 1-3 DPO.
Can You Take a Pregnancy Test at 1-3 DPO?
Pregnancy testing is a little like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: you don’t want to test too early or too late! Testing too late might mean you make poor lifestyle choices, such as continuing to drink alcohol or failing to take prenatal vitamins because you don’t know you’re pregnant. Meanwhile, testing too early can lead to false-positive or false-negative results.
False-positive results from testing too early usually result from a chemical pregnancy. When experiencing a chemical pregnancy, your hCG levels will rise even though you are not pregnant. The pregnancy test can detect hCG during the TWW, but if you test again at 14 DPO, you will not see a positive result anymore. In fact, a chemical pregnancy is actually a type of early miscarriage.
False-negative test results usually result from taking a pregnancy test too early. Home pregnancy tests work by detecting the level of the pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine. Your hCG must cross a certain threshold for the pregnancy test to show a positive result. Even if you are pregnant, your hCG may not be high enough during the TWW for the pregnancy test to come out positive. If you take a test again at 14 DPO, you may find that the test comes back positive, even though you received a negative result before.
Ideally, you should not take a pregnancy test sooner than 14 DPO, or on the first day of your next expected period. By this point, your hCG levels should be high enough for a home pregnancy test to detect them. If you really cannot wait that long, your doctor may be willing to do a blood test that can detect pregnancy as early as 7-8 DPO. Unfortunately, many doctors will not perform a blood test before 14 DPO so be prepared to wait a bit longer!
✔️ 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 treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
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.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).