When you ovulate, you are beginning the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle. This phase continues until you get your period or a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. At 3 DPO, a mature egg has been released by the ovary and traveled through the fallopian tube. An egg typically stays in the fallopian tube for the first 12–24 hours after being released by the ovary. This is why there is a short window for fertilization.
This is also when different hormone levels are changing to prepare for the possibility of a fertilized egg. Progesterone levels increase during ovulation and peak about 6–8 days later. Progesterone is also responsible for changes that you may see in your body and mood.
When you are 3 DPO, your body's changes are directly related to the changing levels of hormones. These changes cause symptoms that are associated with both PMS and early pregnancy. This can make it difficult to know whether you have conceived or are getting your period. Some of these symptoms include breast tenderness, bloating, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and backaches. These are referred to as the secondary symptoms of ovulation because they don't necessarily happen to every woman during every cycle.
Fatigue may be one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms that a woman notices. Many women also experience it during each menstrual cycle, though. Many women experience fatigue as part of the usual 3 DPO symptoms of the luteal phase.
A recent study showed that women with high levels of luteal progesterone report low levels of aggression, irritability, and fatigue. However, if you are tired every day, regardless of the time in your cycle or whether you are pregnant, you should see your doctor. This could be a sign of a different medical condition such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) or anemia (low iron).
Women typically ovulate about halfway through their menstrual cycle. This is also the time when women start to feel bloated. By 3 DPO, you will probably still feel this way. Just before you ovulate, there is an increase in estrogen and luteinizing hormone. Some studies have shown that the variations in these female hormones can also control fluid regulation within the body.
Many women report having back pain during their period; others have back pain just before. This is common and can vary in severity. For many women, they feel a significant relief from this pain once their period starts. This pain is most likely due to muscles (such as the uterus) being affected by the regular hormonal changes associated with your menstrual cycle. It may also be a sign of early pregnancy and can increase in frequency and severity for perimenopausal women.
Nausea is often a tell-tale sign for many women that they are in the early stages of pregnancy. It can also be a sign that your hormone levels are changing, and you may be ovulating. If you're trying to conceive and feeling nauseous around 3 DPO, it would be good to track this symptom. You might discover that you're in a fertile window.
Breast tenderness can be associated with many different things including caffeine intake, an ill-fitting bra, and hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Some women begin to have breast tenderness during ovulation, and the pain continues until the start of their period. Regardless of when you experience breast tenderness, you might be able to alleviate it by decreasing your caffeine intake and wearing looser clothing.
Research related to this topic is ongoing, and there are some theories about why women experience breast tenderness during ovulation. Some studies have found that some women have less progesterone than estrogen during the second half of their cycle. Others suspect that an abnormality in the hormone prolactin may cause the pain.
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It's not likely that you will experience any pregnancy symptoms at 3 DPO. The luteal phase starts the day that you ovulate and continues until you have your first day of bleeding (not spotting). The luteal phase is typically 12 days or more. If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms at 3 DPO, you may have miscalculated your ovulation or have a hormonal imbalance that should be checked by your doctor.
Some sources will tell you that cramping at 3 DPO is a sign of early pregnancy. This may be possible, but it's not typical for most women. This is because a fertilized egg usually does not implant in the uterine lining until about 6–12 days after ovulation. This cramping tends to be minor and can be associated with some light spotting.
If you experience any of these symptoms, they are more likely to be the result of the typical monthly hormonal changes. However, if they are a new symptom or continue beyond the time that you would normally get your period, it might be a sign that you are pregnant. Most medical practitioners will advise you to wait until you have missed the first day or two of your period before you do a pregnancy test. This will ensure that the hormone levels that indicate a positive pregnancy are high enough to be tested.