Early pregnancy symptoms by days past ovulation (DPO) can be similar to symptoms of PMS. Examples include bloating, breast tenderness, nipple changes, food cravings, and more.

Early pregnancy symptoms after ovulation are often similar to those of an impending period. Some, like muscle aches and pains, are also a part of everyday life.

However, knowing what is happening in the body, as well as the typical pregnancy symptoms that occur on different days past ovulation (DPO), can make the wait a little easier.

It is not possible to know for sure if a person is pregnant until a pregnancy test confirms it. Also, pregnancy symptoms, and when they occur, vary significantly between individuals.

In this article, we look at what is happening in the body around the time of ovulation, and what early signs people might notice in the early DPO.

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While some people experience many early pregnancy symptoms, others experience few or no symptoms at all.

Also, early pregnancy symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms experienced around the time of ovulation, during PMS, and by those taking fertility medications.

This is why DPO symptoms are not a reliable measure of whether or not an individual has become pregnant. People should talk with a doctor about their specific symptoms.

Ovulation is the moment an ovary releases an egg.

As soon as an ovary releases an egg, the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle begins. The luteal phase ends with a menstrual period unless pregnancy occurs.

Individuals will not experience any pregnancy symptoms during the earliest part of the luteal phase. This is because pregnancy does not occur until the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus.

During the luteal phase, the body produces more progesterone, which is a hormone that helps sustain an early pregnancy. The levels of progesterone peak at 6–8 days after ovulation, even when a person does not become pregnant.

Progesterone levels can affect an individual’s mood and body — this means that after a week or so, they may experience similar symptoms in early pregnancy as they do before a period.

When a fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it implants itself into the wall of the uterus. This is called implantation and marks the start of pregnancy. Implantation typically happens 6–12 days after fertilization.

This is the time when people may begin to experience pregnancy symptoms, including:

However, these symptoms may also occur in those who are not pregnant. This is because of the increased levels of progesterone that are present during the last stages of the menstrual cycle.

After 1-2 weeks following implantation, some people will notice light bleeding or spotting, which is called implantation bleeding.

This spotting is typically light in flow. Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy since it happens around the time the individual becomes pregnant.

However, even when a person notices bleeding around the time of implantation, they may still not get a positive pregnancy test. They may have a very early miscarriage called a chemical pregnancy, or the bleeding might be due to something else.

At implantation, the body begins producing a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Known as the pregnancy hormone, HCG — along with progesterone and estrogen — is responsible for early pregnancy symptoms. It is also the hormone that pregnancy tests identify.

However, it can take several days for HCG to reach to a detectable level, so pregnancy tests may not pick up the hormone, and symptoms may not develop immediately.

Learn more about HCG pregnancy tests.

A few days after implantation, HCG levels may be high enough to cause early pregnancy symptoms. However, this is also the phase of the menstrual cycle when a person is most likely to experience symptoms that mean they are about to get their period.

Individuals who are aware of how their body behaves each month might be better able to identify whether their symptoms are due to pregnancy or regular menstruation.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), some other symptoms of early pregnancy include:

By the time a person has experienced several early pregnancy symptoms, it is possible that the hCG levels are high enough that a pregnancy test can indicate a pregnancy. However, hCG levels vary, so this is not always the case.

As pregnancy progresses and hCG levels rise even more, many people begin experiencing more symptoms.

Some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms include:

Below are some common questions and answers about early pregnancy symptoms by DPO.

How soon after ovulation can someone feel pregnancy symptoms?

Some people may begin to notice pregnancy symptoms after implantation, which is when a fertilized egg implants itself into the wall of the uterus. Implantation usually happens 6–12 days after fertilization.

Can people experience pregnancy symptoms 48 hours after conception?

People are not likely to experience symptoms of pregnancy until implantation occurs, which is typically 6–12 days after fertilization.

How many DPO can a person test positive for pregnancy?

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, if a person has a 28 day menstrual cycle, a pregnancy test may be able detect the pregnancy hormone, HCG, in their urine 12-15 DPO.

Whether a person is trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid a pregnancy, the 2-week wait can be frustrating.

Some people track their ovulation by looking out for physical symptoms or using ovulation tests. It is important to note that the only way to detect ovulation is through medical testing.

However, home ovulation tests can be misleading, particularly if an individual has a condition that affects ovulation.

No symptom alone can confirm early pregnancy, and many people experience no early pregnancy symptoms at all. The only way to establish a pregnancy is by taking a pregnancy test.