At 5 days past ovulation (DPO), a person may experience cramps and implantation bleeding. These early pregnancy symptoms can often occur before a person misses a period.
Ovulation is the moment an ovary releases an egg ready for fertilization. This begins the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The luteal phase ends with a menstrual period unless pregnancy occurs. The time at which people experience pregnancy symptoms will depend on the time of egg fertilization and subsequent uterus implantation.
In this article, we look at the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy and discuss how soon people can get an accurate reading from a pregnancy test.
The first sign of pregnancy is often a missed period, which happens around 15 days past ovulation (DPO). Some people may notice symptoms as early as 5 DPO, although they won’t know for sure that they are pregnant until much later.
Early signs and symptoms include implantation bleeding or cramps, which can occur 5–6 days after the sperm fertilizes the egg. As a result, depending on the time of conception, it is possible for people to feel some symptoms of pregnancy this early on.
However, they are unlikely to appear this soon in most cases. Many of the early symptoms, such as chest tenderness or fatigue, are instead linked to hormonal changes during ovulation or menstruation.
At 5 DPO, if the sperm has reached and fertilized the egg, the cells within the newly formed zygote multiply to create a lump of cells called a blastocyst.
These cells multiply as the blastocyst makes its way down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus.
When the blastocyst reaches the uterine wall, it attaches itself to access nutrients through the blood. At 5 DPO, the blastocyst may either be traveling to the uterine wall or already connected to it.
If it is attached, the blastocyst has started its journey toward becoming a fetus, and pregnancy is underway.
The specific symptoms of pregnancy vary from person to person. There is no “normal,” as each pregnancy is unique.
However, some of the earliest symptoms that people may notice tend to include the following:
Implantation cramping and bleeding
People may experience cramps very early on in pregnancy. These are due to implantation when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus.
Implantation cramps may occur a few days after ovulation. These cramps may occur in the lower back, abdomen, or pelvis.
Raised basal body temperature
A person’s baseline body temperature changes throughout the menstrual cycle. The temperature increases after ovulation and may stay higher than usual until the period begins.
A basal body temperature that remains unusually high beyond the typical length may indicate pregnancy.
However, these signs are not unique to pregnancy and can be due to another hormonal or lifestyle factor.
Other early signs and when they happen
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- Chest tenderness: Hormone fluctuations may cause breasts to swell, feel tender, and tingle or itch
- Fatigue: Changes in hormones, especially a steep rise in progesterone during the early stages of pregnancy, may cause fatigue.
- Headaches: Raised hormone levels may also trigger headaches early on in a pregnancy, although the stage at which they appear can vary.
- Food cravings: Many people find that they have particular cravings during pregnancy, and these often begin early on.
- Food aversion: Just as someone may crave particular tastes, they can begin to find other flavors repellant. The smell or taste of some foods may make them lose their appetite or feel nauseous.
- Urinating more frequently: The need to urinate more often is a common sign of pregnancy. It may be due to the increased levels of pregnancy hormones in the body, which increase blood flow in the kidneys and pelvic region.
- Mood swings: Significant mood swings may also be an early sign of pregnancy. Again, these can result from significant changes in hormone levels.
- Morning sickness: People may experience nausea and vomiting anytime throughout the day and as early as 2 weeks after conception.
- Dizziness: Some people also report feeling dizzy or wobbly early on in pregnancy, often when they get up after lying down. This symptom may be due to changes in the blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain.
Some people cannot explain any specific symptoms or changes in their bodies, but they intuitively feel that something is different.
They might describe it as not feeling like themselves or like they are suddenly always a step behind. This may be a sign of fatigue and an indication of hormonal changes.
As tempting as it can be to take pregnancy tests early and often, it may not be helpful. At 5 DPO, there is no reliable way to check for pregnancy.
Most tests check for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which the placenta makes. This hormone starts building up in the body after implantation. However, hCG may not be adequately present in urine until
Testing for pregnancy too early
While implantation may occur early on in some menstrual cycles, it does take time for the hormone to build up to a level in the blood that will make it detectable in a blood or urine test.
Taking a pregnancy test too early may give inaccurate results. It is possible that a pregnant person could still get a negative result if the level of hCG has not yet built up in their body.
A false positive is also possible, which is a positive result on a pregnancy test when someone is not pregnant. This can happen when a person performs the test incorrectly, has a chemical pregnancy, or is taking certain hormonal medications as part of fertility treatment.
When a person thinks they might be pregnant, they may wish to note any signs and symptoms and discuss them with a doctor. It will only be a few more days until the level of the pregnancy hormone hCG in the blood or urine is sufficient to allow an accurate reading on a pregnancy test.