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3 DPO Symptoms: When to test for early pregnancy

3 DPO: Are There Any Pregnancy Symptoms

If you’re trying to conceive, the waiting period (TWW) after you ovulate can seem endless. You will likely feel a little or no difference 3 days past ovulation (3 DPO), whether you’re pregnant or not. This is expected because of the hormonal changes that occur whether your egg has been fertilized or not. Let us explore these changes at 3 DPO and help you know what to expect during this period.

3 Days Past Ovulation
3 DPO: Are There Any Pregnancy Symptoms

What’s happening to the body at 3 DPO?

Once you ovulate, you are starting the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This phase continues until you receive your period or the fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterus lining. 3 days after ovulation (3 DPO), the ovary has already released a mature egg, and it has travelled through the uterine tube. The egg will stay in the uterine tube for 12 to 24 hours after it’s released by the ovary until it’s reduced or fertilized. This is the reason why there’s a limited window for fertilization.

During this time, the hormone levels are also changing to get ready for the possibility of having a fertilized egg. The progesterone levels increase after you ovulate, and they will peak about six to eight days later. This hormone is responsible for the changes you might notice in your mood and body.

3 DPO symptoms you should know

At 3 DPO, the body changes are directly linked to the changing hormone levels. Due to these changes, you may experience symptoms associated with early pregnancy and Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This makes it challenging to know if you are getting your period or have conceived. Some of the symptoms you may experience include nausea, headache, bloating, breast tenderness, backaches, and fatigue. All these are secondary ovulation symptoms since they do not necessarily happen to every woman during each menstrual cycle.

3 Days Past Ovulation & Fatigue

One of the primary early pregnancy symptoms you may experience is fatigue. Growing a baby is a lot of work for the body, so it’s easy to feel fatigued. This occurs because the body is going through some changes to prepare for the next 9 months, starting from the day of conception.

However, you can likely experience fatigue at 3 DPO due to the hormonal changes linked with the luteal phase. It’s still early to determine if you’re fatigued because of pregnancy or not, three days after ovulation.

The latest research has shown that women with high luteal progesterone levels report lower levels of fatigue and irritability during their menstrual cycle. But if you’re tired each day, no matter the stage of your cycle or whether you’re pregnant or not, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider. Sometimes persistent fatigue can be a sign of another medical condition like anemia or low thyroid function, also known as hypothyroidism.

3 Days Past Ovulation & bloating

Another symptom you might experience is bloating. Ovulation occurs approximately halfway through your menstrual cycle. This is when you may start feeling bloated, and by 3 DPO, you will likely still feel this way. Many women experience bloating as one of the pregnancy symptoms because the body is starting to develop excess progesterone to thicken the uterine lining to support the fetus.

Also, once the egg is released from the follicle, a small amount of fluid gets released into internal organs lining, particularly the gut. This can cause bloating and increase the levels of progesterone during the luteal phase.

3 Days Past Ovulation & backache

Most people report having back pain during their periods or a few days before. This is a common occurrence that varies in severity from one person to another. Some women feel a significant relief once the period starts, while others have to bear the pain for a few days. This pain is usually caused by the contraction of smooth muscles in the uterine wall, which is primarily driven by changes in prostaglandin and hormone levels.

Sometimes backache can be an early pregnancy symptom and may occur at 3 DPO. While backache is not common during this time, it can occur due to the hormonal changes experienced during the luteal phase. The hormones loosen joints to prepare your body for future pregnancy, and you may experience backaches as a side effect. 

You are more likely to experience back pain in the early days of your pregnancy if you have had back pain issues before pregnancy or are overweight.  However, at 3 DPO, it is still too early to determine whether your backache is due to hormonal changes experienced in the luteal phase or early pregnancy.

3 Days Past Ovulation & Nausea

Nausea is one of the primary signs of pregnancy that’s experienced during the early stages. If you have been trying to conceive and start feeling nauseous a few days after ovulation, you could likely be pregnant.

3 Days Past Ovulation & Cramping

It is possible to experience cramps at 3 DPO even though this is mainly associated with the hormonal changes you experience after ovulation. Some women can experience cramps when the fertilized egg is being implanted on the uterine wall.

This step is fundamental to pregnancy because the developing fetus needs to get nutrients from the endometrium.  However, implantation doesn’t occur until 6 to 12 DPO.

The cramping will feel a lot like regular period cramps, which tends to confuse many. You are also likely to experience some brown discharge or implantation bleeding during this time or at 10 to 14 days after ovulation.

It could be difficult to determine if your period is coming early or you’re experiencing implantation between the bleeding and cramping. Therefore it is advisable to keep an eye out for additional symptoms of conception to tell the difference.

3 Days Past Ovulation & Tender breasts

Breast tenderness is associated with various factors, including hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, caffeine intake, and an ill-fitting bra. Some people can have it during ovulation, and their pain may continue until they start their period.

The breast will feel heavy and swollen during this time at 3 DPO, and you might have extreme nipple sensitivity. No matter the reason why you are experiencing breast tenderness, you can take caffeine and wear loose clothing to alleviate the pain.

Currently, the research on this topic is still ongoing, but there are several theories about why women experience breast tenderness at different phases of the menstrual cycle. Certain studies have found that women have an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone during the second half of their menstrual cycle. Others think that the abnormality in hormone prolactin causes breast tenderness.

Are there 3 DPO symptoms that lead to BFP?

It’s unlikely to experience pregnancy symptoms at 3 DPO. Your luteal phase will begin the day you ovulate and continue until the first day of your bleeding. The luteal phase typically lasts between 10 to 16 days. Suppose you start experiencing pregnancy symptoms 3 days after ovulation. In that case, you will likely have miscalculated your ovulation or have a hormonal imbalance that should be checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

Should you take a pregnancy test at 3 DPO?

Pregnancy tests should be taken at the right time – you shouldn’t test too early or late. When you test too late, you’ll likely make poor lifestyle choices such as failing to take your prenatal vitamins on time or changing some lifestyle habits like taking alcohol or smoking since you didn’t know you are expectant. Testing too early, on the other hand, can lead to false-negative or false-positive results.

A false-negative test can occur when you take a pregnancy test too early.  Generally, the at-home pregnancy tests work by detecting levels of hormone hCG in urine, and this hormone is not released until the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. Even if you’re pregnant, the hCG levels may not be high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test, so you’ll likely get a false negative result even if you’re pregnant. If you take another test on the first day after missing your period, the results may come back positive, even if you received a negative result earlier.

Home Pregnancy Tests: Everything You Need to Know

Ideally, you are not supposed to take a pregnancy test before the first day of a missed period. At this time, the hCG levels in your urine will be high enough to be detected by an at-home pregnancy test kit. If you cannot wait this long, you can always visit your doctor to do a blood test to detect pregnancy as early as 8 days after ovulation.

Note that most doctors do not like performing a blood test before 14 DPO, so they might still recommend that you wait until you miss your period.