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.
What is DPO in Pregnancy?
DPO is simply an acronym that stands for “days past ovulation” or “days post ovulation”. For example, if ovulation occurs on a Monday, then the next day (Tuesday) would be considered 1 DPO.
Why track DPO? Two reasons.
First, because tracking DPO will help you plan for the best time to take a pregnancy test (typically no sooner than 12 DPO). Second, it can help you monitor and track early symptoms of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Symptoms After Ovulation Day by Day
Days 1-6 Past Ovulation (1-6 DPO)
Ovulation is a crucial moment, as it’s the first day of the TWW. You probably remember that during ovulation, the 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 (7-11 DPO)
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 from a few hours to 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 health issue. 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 DPO symptoms are very common and are similar to the signs of the second part of your cycle, the luteal phase, or an upcoming period. So, you’ll have to wait a little longer until your body produces a significant amount of pregnancy hormone (hCG) before experiencing any sure symptoms of pregnancy.
Days 12-14 past ovulation (12-14 DPO)
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 12 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.
Want to explore DPO symptoms in more depth? Check out our dedicated DPO guides:
- 1 to 3 DPO symptoms
- 4 DPO symptoms
- 5 DPO symptoms
- 6 DPO symptoms
- 7 DPO symptoms
- 8 DPO symptoms
- 9 DPO symptoms
- 10 DPO symptoms
- 11 DPO symptoms
- 12 DPO symptoms
DPO Symptoms: What if You’re Not Pregnant?
Regardless of whether you are trying to conceive or not, the two-week wait can be a notoriously frustrating time. No symptom alone can confirm pregnancy and every woman is different. The only way to confirm pregnancy is by taking a pregnancy test but there are some benefits to knowing what is happening internally if you’re not pregnant.
What’s happening in your body if you’re not pregnant
Your menstrual cycle is what prepares your body for pregnancy each month, but if that doesn’t happen it returns to a predictable series of events to carry on for the next month. If a fertilized egg hasn’t found its way to the lining of your uterus for implantation, that lining is no longer needed and the familiar shed and subsequent bleeding will eventually take place.
Since premenstrual symptoms can look very similar to those of an early pregnancy, it can be hard to tell what those symptoms might mean. The differences between pregnancy and an impending period are subtle and can vary from woman to woman.
Symptoms after ovulation if you’re not pregnant
The symptoms you may experience during your menstrual cycle after ovulation can look very similar to those of early pregnancy. Some of the symptoms you may experience if you’re not pregnant include breast pain and cramping.
This familiar pregnancy symptom can be confusing since it also happens for many women in the weeks leading up to your period. Breast swelling and tenderness can occur in the days past ovulation as estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate. Estrogen causes breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone contributes by causing the milk glands to swell. So, as these hormones increase in the second half of your menstrual cycle, your breasts may start to feel sore.
Leading up to your period, you may experience a dull, heavy pain accompanied by tenderness or feelings of fullness. But since these symptoms are tied to hormone levels, the pain usually improves during your period or right after as progesterone levels go back down.
Cramping after ovulation
Cramping of any kind in the abdominal region can be uncomfortable, but many women experience this every month with their menstrual cycle making it hard to tell whether this is a sign of pregnancy (like implantation cramping) or another period. As confusing as they can be, there are subtle differences between the two.
Cramps associated with your period typically occur closer to the 10-12 DPO mark, while implantation cramping occurs most often between 6-12 DPO. In terms of intensity, pre-menstrual and menstrual cramping can range from mild to instense and even severe. Implantation cramps on the other hand are usually described as milder and less intense.
Because pregnancy hormones can affect gut health, and implantation may or may not be accompanied by bleeding, cramping can be a confusing symptom to interpret.
Other possible causes
Although many of these symptoms are signs of early pregnancy, there may be other reasons for them as well. The hormonal changes a woman goes through each month, whether she’s pregnant or not, can cause a variety of physical changes and resulting symptoms.
Estrogen and progesterone regulate your monthly cycle and most definitely play a role in pregnancy, but if they are out of whack, then other problems might result. Functional issues with the ovaries, thyroid gland issues, and medications can all impact hormone levels and lead to noticeable changes in the body.
Tracking your hormone levels directly is a great way to better understand your personal hormonal fluctuations and potential imbalances. Thanks to the Mira Max Starter Kit, this is now possible from the comfort of your own home!
Stress is a normal and natural part of the human experience, but it can directly impact your physical health and you may start to experience symptoms as a result. In addition to the mood swings, fatigue, and headaches you may be experiencing, stress has the potential to lead to a number of long-term issues as well. And since symptoms of stress can manifest as emotional, physical, or cognitive symptoms, they may be confused as one of the signs of early pregnancy.
It’s important to note that stress cannot cause infertility directly, but it can impact your fertility in other ways. The good news is that there are practical ways to manage your stress while you are trying to conceive.
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!
Symptoms After Ovulation if Pregnant
Remember – it takes time for a fertilized egg to develop in embryo in the days following ovulation before it’s ready for implantation. In fact, your body will most likely not be “technically” pregnant until several days after ovulation. Any symptoms you feel in the first 1-6 DPO will likely have more to do with post-ovulation hormonal fluctuations as opposed to a potential pregnancy.
48 hours after conception symptoms
Typical symptoms in the 48 hours after conception (or around 3 DPO) may include light cramping, fatigue, breast tenderness, and backaches. Again, these symptoms are likely caused by a dip in estrogen and a sharp rise in progesterone following ovulation.
What is DPO?
“DPO” is an acronym for “days past ovulation” or “days post ovulation”. It is typically used to track early pregnancy symptoms and plan for pregnancy testing.
Can DPO symptoms be mistaken for PMS?
Yes. DPO symptoms such as headache, fatigue, cramping, breast tenderness, and bloating are commonly mistaken for premenstrual symptoms.
The key symptoms to look out for in early pregnancy include light bleeding/spotting, nausea, and a missed period.
What if I don’t experience any symptoms?
If you are TTC but haven’t experienced any early pregnancy symptoms in the two weeks following ovulation – don’t worry! Many individuals do not experience any symptoms related to implantation or early pregnancy.
Every pregnancy is unique, and the best way to know for sure is by taking a pregnancy test at the appropriate time for your body.
When should I take a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests should be taken at least one day after the estimated start date of your next period. If you have a 28-day cycle, a pregnancy test can be taken after you have reached 14 DPO.
To learn more about when to take a pregnancy test, check out our article When to Take a Pregnancy Test Based on Science and Ovulation.
How accurate are early pregnancy tests?
Some pregnancy tests are advertised as “early pregnancy tests”, and they claim that they can detect pregnancy as early as five days before the start of your next period.
It’s important to note though that early pregnancy tests can only detect hCG in approximately 76% of women – so do not be discouraged if you receive a negative result. Instead, try to relax and wait until the first day of your missed period when testing will be more accurate.
What should I do if I experience severe symptoms?
If your early pregnancy symptoms begin to interrupt your daily life and/or become unbearable, it is worth making an appointment with your doctor or fertility nurse. They will be able to advise you on your individual situation and run additional tests if needed.
What are the chances of getting pregnant in the 1 to 12 days past ovulation?
You are only considered “fertile” up to 24 hours after ovulation. Research suggests that the chances of getting pregnant within this one-day window are approximately 11-13% for regular and irregular cycles.