5 DPO Symptoms: What to Expect and When to Test

by Jul 21, 2021

When you are meticulously tracking and logging the details of your TTC journey, it’s easy to become hyper aware of any changes in your body.  Two weeks can feel like an eternity when you’re hoping to see a positive result on a home pregnancy test and you might feel like everything is a sign.

5 dpo

Even if you know the science behind ovulation, it’s important to understand what’s happening in your body at 5 days past ovulation.  In this post we’ll cover what is happening at this early stay and what you can expect from a pregnancy test at 5 DPO.

What is happening to your body at 5 DPO?

Like every other month, your body is busy preparing for implantation by thickening the lining of the uterus to accept a fertilized egg.  The structure that forms in the ovary in place of a ruptured follicle that releases an egg, the corpus luteum, drives the process through progesterone production.

If that egg becomes fertilized, progesterone production continues so that it can support your pregnancy and the development of a fetus.  Rising progesterone levels may mimic early pregnancy symptoms and are often confused for PMS.  Of course if the egg isn’t fertilized, the corpus luteum shrinks in a few days and the decline in progesterone production stops the lining of the uterus from thickening, and the shed of that lining leads to your next period

Strictly speaking, while it’s possible to be pregnant and feel pregnancy symptoms at 5 DPO, it’s simply too early for the majority of people to know exactly if the pregnancy occurred or not.  If the sperm has reached the egg and fertilized it, you are on your way to implantation and at 5 DPO this could still be in progress.  Although implantation usually takes place 6-12 days after ovulation, there’s simply no way to know for sure that it’s happened and at 5 DPO a fertilized egg will be traveling to the uterine wall.

Early symptoms of pregnancy can be very similar to those of an impending period due to rising progesterone production. If you regularly experience symptoms from PMS like cramping or mood changes then you may be experiencing 5 DPO symptoms and not even know it.

What are the pregnancy symptoms at 5 days past ovulation?

In a cycle without implantation of a fertilized egg, progesterone levels drop and menstruation occurs.  But if an implantation has taken place, this hormone continues to be produced and the elevated levels could cause symptoms similar to those of an approaching period.  Most women won’t be able to tell the difference between 5 DPO symptoms and the signs of a regular menstrual period as many overlap.

Cramping

At 5 DPO, implantation is about to happen as it usually occurs from 6-12 days post ovulation.  Some women experience symptoms during implantation like cramping and light brown or red discharge but this is not common and affects only about 30% of women.

Like period cramps, implantation cramps originate in the uterus and many women describe them as a mild to moderate tingling, pricking, or pulling sensation in the lower abdomen or back.  As the name implies, implantation cramps occur when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining, usually between 6-12 DPO, whereas period cramps won’t be felt until 14 DPO or beyond.

Bleeding

It may seem counterintuitive, but bleeding can be an early sign of pregnancy.  Lighter in flow and colour than a typical period, spotting, bleeding or brown discharge in those early days happens in almost 15-25 % of pregnancies and is not usually a cause for concern.  Bleeding may be due to the implantation process or something else like cervical irritation, but should last no longer than a few hours to a day or two and is usually very light in flow.

Constipation

Hormonal changes in early pregnancy, like the increase in progesterone, can cause disruptions to your digestive function.  Progesterone is responsible for relaxing the smooth muscles, like the walls of your uterus, but it can have knock-on effects.   As levels rise the smooth muscles in your digestive tract are also affected, and you may begin to notice changes in your digestion like bloating or constipation.

Mood Changes

Any pregnancy brings with it a rush of hormones flooding the body as changes get underway for a growing baby.  As progesterone and estrogen rise dramatically, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) will also be added after implantation and then you’re in for a rollercoaster of hormonal and physiological changes.  While these hormones work in the background to aid the development of your pregnancy, an unfortunate side effect could be the classic irritability or mood swings associated with early pregnancy.

Nausea

While the exact cause is unknown, hormonal changes are also strongly suspected in the tell-tale nausea that is associated with early pregnancy.  As many as 80% of women experience this common symptom and it can begin very early on.

Although most women don’t experience nausea until weeks into their pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association reports that 4 out of 5 women will experience pregnancy-related nausea before a missed period, so some women may experience it as early as 5 DPO.  However, this also may be due to higher levels of progesterone in the luteal phase.

Fatigue

Blame hormones again, but soaring progesterone levels in early pregnancy can contribute to feelings of extreme fatigue and tiredness.  One of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy, unusual tiredness and exhaustion may be noticed as early as 1 week after conception. As hormone levels rise and your body gets to work, you may feel exhausted even if you are getting enough sleep.

What to do if you have no symptoms at 5 days past ovulation?

Since many of the early signs of pregnancy can also be similar to an impending period, it can be hard to differentiate between the two.  Even though you may be pregnant, you may not be experiencing symptoms this early and having no symptoms at 5 DPO is not a cause for concern or even abnormal.  Most women won’t begin to experience pregnancy symptoms until 1-2 weeks after a missed period and even though some symptoms are common, you may experience none at all.

When should you test?

Waiting to take a pregnancy test might feel like torture but taking a test too early can lead to a false-negative result.  Even if fertilization happened, a 5 DPO test is simply too early for a reliable result.  Home pregnancy tests rely on detectable levels of the hormone hCG that appears in blood and urine after implantation (anywhere from 6-12 days after ovulation).  That doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t pregnant, you may just need more time for hormone levels to build.

What does it mean to get BFP at 5 DPO?

A positive result on a home pregnancy test means there’s enough of the hormone hCG to be detected in your body.  In rare cases, this could be due to medications, a problem with the ovaries, or menopause rather than pregnancy.  Due to the timeline of conception, it is too early to get a BFP at 5 DPO.  A BFP at 5 DPO can also signal incorrect testing, so you may want to repeat testing in 1-2 days.

Can you get BFN at 5 DPO and still be pregnant?

A BFN at 5 DPO doesn’t mean you aren’t pregnant, it simply may be too early to tell.  Hormone levels may not have risen enough yet to be detectable by home tests so a 5 DPO BFN is unreliable at best.  If you get a BFN, but you haven’t started your period, it’s best to wait a little longer to take another test.  Ideally you should wait until the first day of a missed period to take a pregnancy test for the most accurate results.

✔️ 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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