3 DPO: Is it too soon to know if I’m pregnant?

Spread the love

At 3 DPO, is it possible to know that you are pregnant? 3 DPO stands for Three Days Post-Ovulation. It means that your ovary released an egg for fertilization about three days ago. 

Your fertile window spans about four days before upto a day after ovulation. This is the ideal time to try for a baby with higher chances of success.  

So picture this. You made the best of your fertile window and are now waiting for a favorable result. 

How long will you have to wait though? Can the signs of pregnancy become visible as early as 3 DPO?

A positive pregnancy test is the most reliable indicator that your body is getting ready to bring new life into the world. For the most accurate result, it is advisable that you take the pregnancy test a week after your missed period

But are there pregnancy symptoms that appear between ovulation and your missed period?

At 3 DPO, is it too soon to know if you are pregnant?

The short answer is yes. 3 days is generally too early for the symptoms of pregnancy to be detected. 

Nevertheless, there are certain indicators that can help you understand the changes in your body. Tracking these changes until a positive result turns up will help you know if you are pregnant.

Let us first understand what exactly is happening in your body at 3 DPO.

What happens at 3 DPO?


Ovulation marks the beginning of the luteal phase. Till you don’t get your period, your body prepares for pregnancy. Once an egg is implanted during the luteal phase, your body continues to prepare for pregnancy. 

3 DPO is very early in the luteal phase. You could already be pregnant at this point, or there can be a window in which you can get pregnant this cycle.

Here’s how that happens: 

You could already be pregnant if you had sex before ovulating. Sperm can live inside the fertility tract for up to five days after intercourse. 

So if you ovulated and had sex within your most fertile window, there were sperm waiting to meet the egg. 
The sperm were already present in the fallopian tubes waiting to fertilize the egg. Although fertilization could have happened early in ovulation, implantation probably hasn’t happened yet. 

You could still be pregnant in this cycle. At 3 DPO, your fertilized egg has just not got implanted as yet. Just that your body doesn’t know it’s pregnant until implantation. It’s only after the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus that you can expect even the most subtle pregnancy symptoms. 

In fact, researchers believe that implantations don’t occur until much later in the luteal phase. In most pregnancies, implantation happens between 8-10 DPO. Know more about implantation here. 

So if you’re at 3 DPO and not noticing any changes, don’t sweat it! 

You may already be pregnant and your body just doesn’t know it yet. 

What symptoms should I expect at 3 DPO?

At 3 DPO, pregnancy might just be on the verge of beginning or could still be yet to begin. There may appear what you think are symptoms that become noticeable during this early period. But they might not directly be related to pregnancy.

Due to cyclical changes in your hormones, you can expect some changes in your body at 3 DPO. These are sometimes called secondary symptoms because not everyone experiences  them. 

These symptoms include cramping, nausea, headaches, bloating, fatigue, and backaches. 

Do these sound like pregnancy symptoms to you? That’s because they occur due to hormonal changes that are also seen during early pregnancy. Many of these are related to the progesterone rise that happens around ovulation. 

If you’re keeping track, you may also notice changes in your cervical mucus in the luteal phase. 

During ovulation, your cervical mucus will be clear and liquid, resembling the consistency of egg whites. Early in your luteal phase the discharge may start to lessen in quantity and get a little stickier as well. 

If you’re looking for early signs of pregnancy, watch your cervical mucus closely. Leading up to your period, cervical mucus gets thicker and more opaque. But pregnant women sometimes notice that their cervical mucus stays liquid in the days leading up to their missed period. Here’s a guide to tracking changes in your cervical mucus.

The first positive sign of pregnancy is a pregnancy test. These tests work by looking at hCG in your urine. 

But hCG has to get above a certain level for these tests to be able to notice it. At 3 DPO, hCG still has a long way to go before most pregnancy tests can detect it. 

That’s why 3 DPO is too early to test for pregnancy, even if implantation has already happened. The two-week waiting period between ovulation and testing gives hCG time to rise high enough to give a positive pregnancy test result. 

Let us go through the symptoms at 3 DPO:

  • Fatigue :
    Tiredness or dizziness can be an early symptom of pregnancy, but it’s more relevantly associated with other stages of the menstrual cycle. Many women find themselves feeling foggy and lightheaded during their period, and this can happen when you’re ovulating as well.
    The luteal phase is another time when women can experience mood changes and fatigue.
    If you’re finding yourself longing for a mid-afternoon nap at 3 DPO, it’s probably not because of pregnancy. This is a normal symptom of the luteal phase. 

  • Cramping :
    Up to 40% of women have abdominal cramping and pain around ovulation. While this typically goes away quickly, at an early stage like 3 DPO, you may still feel twinges of ovulation pain.

    Other processes can cause cramping during this time. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can cause prolonged, painful cramping throughout the menstrual cycle. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) medicines are known to cause painful cramps as well.

    Pain at 3 DPO may be related to progesterone, which is naturally on the rise in the luteal phase. More on that here. In general, cramping on it’s own is not a specific symptom of pregnancy. If this pain persists or gets worse, it’s best to make a visit to your healthcare provider. 

  • Bloating and nausea:
    Cramping can lead you to feel bloated. High progesterone in the luteal phase is also associated with a slowing down of processes in the gastrointestinal tract.
    When your GI system slows down, you naturally feel bloated and even constipated. You may notice these symptoms around your period as well.

    Bloating and constipation are a normal part of the fertility cycle, and don’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant.

    Meanwhile, nausea is a classic sign of early pregnancy, famously known as ‘morning sickness.’  So if you are feeling nauseous or are vomiting, you may be compelled to jump to conclusions that steer towards pregnancy. But nausea compounded by digestive discomfort is also a fairly common symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). 

  • Spotting:
    It’s fairly common to notice intermittent bleeding between your menstrual cycles. You may immediately think this is implantation bleeding and you are well on your way to pregnancy. But are you?

    If you’re accurately tracking your ovulation, it’s unlikely that implantation is happening this early. It’s possible that you ovulated a few days before you thought you did, and now implantation is happening on either day 5 or 6.

    In general, a little spotting is not a direct indicator of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding happens much later than 3 DPO, typically occurring around a few days before your next period. Know more about how to differentiate your period and implantation bleeding here.

  • Breast pain and tenderness:
    Tender breasts, though a notable symptom of pregnancy, can also be caused by a lot of other factors too. If you’re wearing bras that are underwired or are too tight for you, your breasts will probably end up sore. Hormonal fluctuations make your breasts more or less full at different times of the month.

    Some women report painful breasts (mastalgia) throughout the luteal phase, all the way up to their periods. Caffeine and sodium have been linked to breast pain, so taking in less of these two foodstuffs could help decrease your pain. 

  • Headache and backache:
    Both headache and backache early in the luteal phase are not specific symptoms of pregnancy. Many women have these as they get closer to their period.

    If you had backache in your last pregnancy, you may be more likely to experience it in your next one. But usually backache is a physiological symptom that comes from the fetus pressing on the spine. Therefore, 3 DPO is far too early a stage for this symptom.

    There is evidence that being well hydrated in the luteal phase can help with pain. If you’re experiencing headaches and backaches, try to increase your water intake. Taking some anti-inflammatory medicines can also help with pain throughout the menstrual cycle

When can I expect symptoms of pregnancy?

The earliest signs of pregnancy start as early as a week after ovulation, around 7-8 DPO. This is the time it takes for the fertilized egg to be implanted into the uterine lining, before which your body is unaware that it is pregnant. 

On days 8-10 DPO, look out for implantation pain and bleeding. Some women notice twinges of pain, as well as light spotting around this time. 

Implantation causes hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to rise. The surge of hCG is what causes many early pregnancy symptoms and delivers a positive pregnancy test. 

The earliest time for a standard pregnancy test is the first day of your missed period. Hold out the two-week wait period after ovulation before you take the test.

A positive pregnancy test is the first true indicator of pregnancy. Some fertility experts call this the BFP, for Big Fat Positive. In the time between ovulation and a BFP, you can look out for other subtle signs that you could be pregnant:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes in taste and smell
  • Changes in food preferences, cravings
  • Frequent urination
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation

In conclusion, even the smallest changes we associate with early pregnancy don’t have the chance to happen at 3 DPO. So remember, it is nearly impossible to know at this stage whether or not a fetus is growing inside you. 

If you’re impatient for answers, don’t fret. Take it easy. It will all become clearer in due time. During this period of excitement and uncertainty, prioritizing rest, hydration, and healthy exercise will be best for your health and well-being. 


  • 3 DPO is too early to tell if you’re pregnant because implantation hasn’t happened yet. 
  • At 3 DPO, an ovum could already be fertilized in the fallopian tubes. 
  • Symptoms like cramping, headache, and nausea at 3 DPO could occur because of cyclical hormonal changes and not always indicate pregnancy. 
  • The earliest signs of pregnancy typically start after days 8-10 DPO. This is when implantation typically happens.
  • Tracking your menstrual and ovulation cycle, along with other bodily changes, could hold the key to clearer answers. 

Crawford, N. M., Pritchard, D. A., Herring, A. H., & Steiner, A. Z. (2016). Prospective evaluation of the impact of intermenstrual bleeding on natural fertility. Fertility and Sterility, 105(5), 1294–1300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.01.015 

Li, S. H., Lloyd, A. R., & Graham, B. M. (2020). Physical and mental fatigue across the menstrual cycle in women with and without generalised anxiety disorder. Hormones and Behavior, 118, 104667. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.104667 

Ramakrishnan, R., Khan, S. A., & Badve, S. (2002). Morphological changes in breast tissue with menstrual cycle. Modern Pathology, 15(12), 1348–1356. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.mp.0000039566.20817.46 

Russell, L. C. (1989). Caffeine restriction as initial treatment for breast pain. The Nurse Practitioner, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.1097/00006205-198902000-00007 

Torkan, B., Mousavi, M., Dehghani, S., Hajipour, L., Sadeghi, N., Ziaei Rad, M., & Montazeri, A. (2021). The role of water intake in the severity of pain and menstrual distress among females suffering from primary dysmenorrhea: A semi-experimental study. BMC Women’s Health, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-021-01184-w 

Wilcox, A. J., Baird, D. D., & Weinberg, C. R. (1999). Time of implantation of the Conceptus and loss of pregnancy. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 54(11), 705. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006254-199911000-00018 

Related Contents