If you are trying to conceive, it may be hard to wait until you take a pregnancy test to see if you’re pregnant. In fact, you may wonder about some of the things you’re feeling shortly after ovulation — could they be pregnancy symptoms?
While taking a home pregnancy test a day after your missed period — or even a few days after that — is the best way to determine if you’re pregnant, some women may wonder about symptoms as early as 4 DPO, otherwise known as 4 days past ovulation.
In reality, your symptoms aren’t likely to start until around the time of your missed period (about 14 DPO). But anecdotal evidence suggests it’s possible to have signs earlier. Let’s take a closer look.
4 DPO is a very early stage in your cycle’s luteal phase, or time after an egg is released. If the egg released during ovulation is fertilized, it’s an early step toward becoming pregnant.
If the egg was fertilized by a sperm cell when you ovulated, the fertilized egg will transform into a zygote. Eventually, the zygote will travel down the fallopian tubes, making its way to becoming a morula or a blastocyst. This is the beginning stage for an embryo. When an embryo implants in your uterine lining, you’re considered pregnant.
But all this takes time. At 4 DPO, fertilization, if it occurred, has only just occurred, and the fertilized egg is just starting its journey toward the uterus.
It’s normal for women to have a heightened awareness of any bodily changes when they’re actively trying to conceive. Some women may experience symptoms this early on, but don’t worry if you aren’t exactly feeling pregnant at 4 DPO — because technically, you’re not.
Some women may start to experience mild symptoms at 4 DPO but it’s more likely that you’ll need to wait a few weeks.
The earliest symptoms of pregnancy you may start to notice include:
- Cramps. The earlier days of pregnancy may include abdominal cramping. However, this is also a sign that you may be starting your menstrual period.
- Spotting. This may be implantation bleeding and typically happens around 6 to 12 days after the egg gets fertilized. (The egg needs time to travel to the uterus before it can implant.) You may want to talk to your doctor if you begin spotting at 4 DPO since it’s not likely caused by implantation bleeding.
- Nausea. This is a common sign in pregnancy and is caused by rising hormone levels. At 4 DPO, you may not experience nausea quite yet.
- Tender breasts. Your breasts may become sensitive due to hormonal changes. This is also a sign that you may be starting your menstrual period.
A missed period is the most telltale sign of pregnancy, but if you’re 4 DPO, you likely have around 9 to 12 days before you’ll experience this sign.
Other symptoms that you may experience within the first trimester of pregnancy include:
It’s important to pay close attention to your body as it changes. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about early pregnancy symptoms.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s normal to be antsy for results! The most accurate and reliable results will show up best from the first day of your missed period — likely around 13 to 15 DPO. It may be best to wait at least three weeks after conceiving before taking a test if you don’t have regular menstrual periods.
Some pregnancy tests may have instructions specific to the test you take. Check the packaging on the test before taking it.
Can I be pregnant and test negative?
If your test comes back negative and you still think you’re pregnant, it’s certainly possible! You may have taken the test too early and need to produce more pregnancy hormones first.
You can talk to your doctor, who may recommend taking a blood test for the earliest and most accurate results.
False positives are rare. Positive pregnancy tests rarely indicate something other than pregnancy, including:
- a problem in the ovaries
- medication containing the hormone hCG
While it’s unlikely for signs of pregnancy to show at 4 DPO, some women report symptoms.
Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your pregnancy or have questions about conception.