When you ovulate, you’re 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 has traveled through the uterine tube. An egg typically stays in the uterine tube for the first 12–24 hours after being released by the ovary until it’s either fertilized or reduced. 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 after ovulation and peak about 6–8 days later. Progesterone is 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 your 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 person during every cycle.
Fatigue is often one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. However, many people also experience it during each menstrual cycle. There are also a lot of people who experience fatigue as part of the usual 3 DPO symptoms of the luteal phase.
A recent study showed that people with high levels of luteal progesterone report low levels of irritability and fatigue during their cycle. However, if you are tired every day, regardless of the stage of your cycle or whether you are pregnant, it’s better to check with your health care provider. In some cases, persistent fatigue could be a sign of a different medical condition, such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) or anemia (low hemoglobin and erythrocyte i.e., red blood cells).
Ovulation typically occurs about halfway through the menstrual cycle. This is also the time when you may 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 people report having back pain during their period; others have back pain just before. This is common and can vary in severity. Many people feel significant relief from this pain once the period starts. This pain is most likely due to the contraction of the smooth muscles of the uterine wall, which is caused by changes in hormone and prostaglandin levels. It may also be a sign of early pregnancy.
Nausea is often a telltale sign of the early stages of pregnancy. If you're trying to conceive and feeling nauseous around 3 DPO, it would be good to track this symptom.
Breast tenderness can be associated with a variety of factors, including caffeine intake, an ill-fitting bra, and hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Some people 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, but there are some theories about why people experience breast tenderness during different phases of the menstrual cycle. Some studies have found that some people have an imbalance in progesterone and estrogen during the second half of their cycle. Others suspect that an abnormality in the hormone prolactin may cause the pain.
It's unlikely 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 typically lasts 10–16 days. If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms at 3 DPO, you may have miscalculated your ovulation, or you may have a hormonal imbalance that’s best checked by your health care provider.
Cramping at 3 DPO as a sign of early pregnancy may be possible, but it's not typical for most people. This is because a fertilized egg usually does not implant in the uterine lining until about 6–10 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 typical monthly hormonal changes. However, if the symptoms are new or if they continue beyond the time that you would normally get your period, it might be a sign that you are pregnant. Most medical practitioners usually 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.