DPO Symptoms: What to Expect From 1 to 12 Days Past Ovulation
If you’re already familiar with some fertility acronyms, you probably know where we’re going with this post: today, we’re going to talk about the two-week wait (TWW), an infamously difficult time for couples who are trying to conceive (TTC) and the DPO symptoms that accompany it.
While you’re waiting to take a pregnancy test, you might be eager to keep an eye out for any potential signs of pregnancy in your body. Let’s break down exactly what happens during those 12 days past ovulation (DPO), including early pregnancy symptoms day-by-day, after an egg gets fertilized.
Days 1-6 Past Ovulation
Ovulation is a crucial moment, as it’s the first day of the TWW. You probably remember that during ovulation, the mature egg is released from the ovaries. The egg then travels to the fallopian tube to meet the sperm and get fertilized.
The released egg is only viable and available for about 24 hours, meaning you need to have sexual intercourse in the five days before or 24 hours after ovulation for the best odds of pregnancy. Mira can assist you in tracking your ovulation for the most precise results.
If the egg is successfully fertilized, it becomes an embryo. In the next 5-7 days, the embryo undergoes multiple divisions until it becomes a blastocyst. That’s when it’s ready for implantation.
So, in the first week after ovulation, the embryo is developing, but has not yet implanted — meaning that, in most cases, your pregnancy has not officially begun. However, it’s important to remember that all pregnancies are unique, and yours may not follow the exact pathway described in this blog post!
1-6 DPO Symptoms
The first 6 DPO also bring on key hormonal changes in the body. During this first week following ovulation, your body produces more progesterone, peaking on 6-8 DPO, regardless of whether the egg is fertilized or not.
Any pregnancy symptoms you feel during the first 6 DPO will most likely result from the effects of progesterone on your body and mood, very similar to those you may experience before your period. Those symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Cramps in the abdomen, pelvis, or lower back
- Mood swings
Days 7-11 Past Ovulation
The next step is the developed embryo reaching the uterus and implanting in the uterine lining. Typically, implantation happens 6-12 days after fertilization (and usually not earlier than 7 DPO).
Progesterone gets your uterus ready to accept, implant, and maintain a fertilized egg. This hormone prevents muscle contractions from happening in the uterus that can cause a woman’s body to reject an embryo. After the embryo is successfully implanted, progesterone helps create a nurturing environment for the developing baby.
7-11 DPO Symptoms
For about 25% of women, implantation is accompanied by implantation bleeding – slight bleeding or spotting that is lighter in color (from light pink to rust-colored) than your usual menstrual flow. Implantation occurs because a couple of blood vessels in the uterus are damaged during implantation. It only lasts a day or two and usually is very light in flow.
However, it’s important to remember that implantation bleeding is not the most reliable sign of pregnancy, because in some cases women can have a chemical pregnancy (a very early miscarriage) or the spotting can be a sign of another problem. So, don’t rush to conclusions before the TWW is up!
Along with implantation bleeding, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Light or faint cramping (less painful than your normal period cramps), which may be accompanied by pulling and/or tingling sensations
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Lower backaches
Again, as you can see, these symptoms are very common and are similar to the signs of ovulation or an upcoming period. So, you’ll have to wait a little longer until your body produces a significant amount of pregnancy hormone before experiencing any sure symptoms of pregnancy.
Days 12-14 Past Ovulation
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is the hormone that pregnancy tests use to detect pregnancy. Your body begins producing hCG at the moment of implantation, but it takes 2-3 days for the hormone to build up to a certain detectable level. This usually doesn’t happen until at least 12 DPO, so don’t hurry to take a home pregnancy test before 13 DPO.
12-14 DPO Symptoms
According to the National Institutes of Health, as hCG hormone levels grow, women may experience these early pregnancy symptoms:
- Unusual fatigue (feeling sleepy), dizziness, or lightheadedness (feeling wobbly, often when you get up after lying down). This happens due to changes in blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain — not to mention that a huge amount of energy goes into building a placenta, the life-support system for your baby!
- Changes in breasts, such as darkening in the color of the nipples, soreness, or nipple sensitivity. Breasts can swell, feel heavy and full, feel tender, tingle, or even itch.
- Changes in taste and smell, specific food cravings, strong aversion to certain foods and smells, or a metallic taste in your mouth.
- Gastrointestinal changes, such as increased hunger, cramping, bloating, water retention, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Morning sickness. Nausea, especially when you are hungry, and/or vomiting may happen at any time of day, despite what the name suggests!
- Frequent urination. The need to empty the bladder more often is caused by pregnancy hormones that increase blood flow to the kidneys and pelvic region.
- Headaches and/or muscle aches.
- Raised basal body temperature, and/or changes in blood pressure and heart rate. During pregnancy, the body pumps more blood to carry nutrients to the fetus, which can cause changes in temperature, blood pressure, or heart rate.
Some women cannot explain any specific symptoms or changes in their bodies, but they intuitively feel that something is “off:” they describe it as feeling unlike themselves or different than usual.
We hope that this blog post will make the TWW easier for you — but don’t worry if you don’t experience these symptoms exactly as described: every pregnancy is a unique experience, so you won’t necessarily experience all of these early pregnancy symptoms or experience them in the same sequence.
Try not to stress about whether or not you’re pregnant. (We know: it’s easier said than done!) Do your best to listen to your body and let things flow. Any sign could be a good one — so, good luck, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you!
✔️ 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).