1 to 3 DPO Symptoms: What to Expect and When to Test

by Jul 28, 2021

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, most women do not — and most of the changes you will experience are related to changes in sex hormones during the luteal phase, not pregnancy changes.

1-3 dpo

At 1-3 DPO, the egg may be fertilized in the fallopian tubes 12-24 hours after ovulation. During 1-3 DPO it will migrate to implant in the uterine cavity. However, the fertilization and migration don’t cause a huge change in hormones during the early luteal phase, meaning you probably won’t experience specific symptoms associated with pregnancy.

Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, your body and hormones will shift at 1 to 3 DPO. As a result, you might experience physical signs associated with the higher progesterone levels in your body after ovulation. Let’s find out what signs and symptoms you may experience at 1-3 DPO and what they mean, 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 approximately two weeks it takes for the pregnancy hormone hCG to rise high enough to become detectable on a home pregnancy test. For the most accurate results, it’s not recommended to take a pregnancy test until the first day of your missed period.

 
 
 
 
 

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 premenstrual symptoms around this time that are very similar to the symptoms of early pregnancy. 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 more intense after implantation. This usually happens no earlier than 6 DPO and as late as 12 days DPO (8-10 DPO on average).

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. However, implantation does not occur earlier than 6-12 DPO, and these symptoms do not occur until implantation (more on DPO symptoms here).

At 1-3 DPO, you may start to experience cramping, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, and backaches. But, the symptoms are mostly related to hormonal changes in the luteal phase after ovulation happens. The symptoms are the same whether an egg was fertilized or not.

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. Both blood and urine tests work by detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG, which is not produced until after implantation at 6-12 DPO.

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 after implantation 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 this cycle, 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, it is possible to experience cramping at 1-3 DPO, but it is mostly associated with hormonal changes after ovulation. 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, but it does not occur until 6-12 DPO.

These cramps can feel a lot like period cramps, which can be confusing. You might also experience some implantation bleeding or brown discharge during this time, no earlier than 10-14 DPO.

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

Growing a baby is a lot of work and you might feel fatigued at 1-3 DPO. If you are pregnant, your body is going through a lot to prepare for the next nine months, beginning from the moment of conception. More likely, however, you are experiencing fatigue at 1-3 DPO due to hormonal changes associated with the luteal phase. It is still too early to tell if you are fatigued due to pregnancy or not 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.

But, at 1-3 DPO, this mostly occurs due to ovulation. When the egg is released from the follicle in the ovary, a small amount of fluid can also be released into the lining of the internal organs, especially the gut. This can lead to bloating, and so can rising levels of progesterone during the luteal phase of your cycle.

Breast Tenderness at 3 DPO

Yes, breast tenderness is a common symptom experienced at 1-3 DPO. It is associated with high levels of progesterone during the luteal phase. 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.

These changes in your breasts may be either an early symptom of pregnancy or a sign of rising progesterone during the luteal phase. Thus, at 1-3 DPO, it is difficult to distinguish whether breast tenderness is due to pregnancy or not.

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 and can also appear due to hormonal changes during the luteal phase. These hormones loosen your joints to prepare the body for a future pregnancy and backaches may be a side effect.

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. But, at 1-3 DPO it is too early to distinguish whether a backache is due to early pregnancy or hormonal changes in the luteal phase.

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-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, which does not appear until after the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. 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 on the first day of your missed period, 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 the first day of your missed 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 8-10 DPO. Unfortunately, many doctors will not perform a blood test before 14 DPO because it is recommended to wait until the first day of your missed period.

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Katerina Shkodzik, M.D., OB-GYN

Dr. Katerina Shkodzik is a certified OB-GYN with a special focus on reproductive endocrinology and infertility issues. She has been practising since 2015.

Dr. Shkodzik completed her residency program in the Department of OB/GYN at the Belarusian State Medical University and fellowship program in the Department of Gynecological Surgery at the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland.

Dr. Shkodzik is extensively involved in digital health projects providing her medical expertise and integrating of cutting edge technologies in medical science and clinical practice since 2018.

Dr. Shkodzik has participated in several studies focused on PCOS, endometriosis, menstrual cycle characteristics and their abnormalities based on big data of digital health in collaboration with leading universities.

She believes that paying special attention to women's health is a crucial step to improving the world we live in.

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