If you’re pregnant at 4 DPO, a sperm cell fertilized an egg that was released four days ago. This process usually happens inside your fallopian tubes. Once the egg cell and the sperm cell merge during fertilization, these two cells will transform into a zygote.
The zygote travels down the fallopian tube to reach the uterine cavity. At the same time, the zygote will start to divide into multiple cells. These cells are “totipotent,” which means that they can turn into any of the cells that make up the human body.
Approximately four days after fertilization, the zygote will have divided into 16 totipotent cells. At this point, the zygote is known as a morula. The morula will keep dividing and developing until it becomes a blastocyst (about 50 to 60 cells) and, later, an embryo. At 4 DPO, the fertilized egg is either a morula or an early blastocyst.
If you’re actively trying to conceive, it’s normal to be extra aware of any pregnancy symptoms that you might be experiencing. This is especially true if you took an ovulation test and know for sure when ovulation occurred. While some people do experience mild symptoms at 4 DPO, it’s much more likely that you’ll have to wait a bit longer to feel pregnant.
Some people experience mild abdominal cramps during the early days of pregnancy. However, this can be a confusing symptom, since it could also signal that your period is about to start. While it’s not impossible that cramping at 4 DPO is a result of pregnancy, it’s also not very likely.
Some people experience very light cramps on one side of their abdomen when they ovulate. You might have experienced light cramping a few days ago that signaled your ovulation.
Spotting in early pregnancy is frequently caused by implantation. Implantation bleeding usually occurs about 10 to 14 days after the egg is fertilized. This means that spotting at 4 DPO isn’t likely to be caused by implantation bleeding. It’s still too soon for implantation to be complete.
If you did conceive this month, you could experience implantation bleeding during the next few days. Not everyone experiences implantation bleeding when they’re pregnant, though. In some cases, the bleeding is so light that you don’t even notice it.
Nausea is one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms for most people. However, research shows that only 10 percent of pregnant people experience nausea before they miss their period. If you haven’t experienced nausea at 4 DPO, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal if you don’t “feel pregnant” at this stage. If you have conceived, your hormone levels will rise very soon, leading to pregnancy symptoms.
Other very early pregnancy symptoms can include:
- Sore breasts
- Nasal congestion
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Food aversions
Few people experience any symptoms at 4 DPO. It’s far more common not to notice any symptoms at this point. Symptoms that you do experience could be related to something else, such as a cold or impending period.
When you’re at 4 DPO, the fertilized egg could still be traveling down to your uterine cavity. During implantation, the fertilized egg will burrow into your uterine lining. The uterine lining is thick and will provide the nutrients that the embryo needs to grow until the placenta is formed.
Implantation itself usually occurs between 6 and 10 DPO, often called the window of implantation. Therefore, it’s unlikely that you’ll have experienced a complete implantation at 4 DPO. But the fertilized egg might have already reached the uterine cavity, which is where implantation will begin soon.
The fertilized egg can spend a few days inside the uterine cavity before implantation. During this period, your uterus will secrete nutrients and hormones to nourish the embryoblast (the mass of cells from which the embryo forms). At the same time, hormonal changes are preparing your uterine lining for a successful implantation.
To get a positive pregnancy test result, human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG, also known as the pregnancy hormone) needs to be high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test. The placenta will only start to release this hormone after the embryo has implanted into your uterine lining. This occurs around 6-10 days past ovulation and lasts for 4 to 5 days.
It’s highly unlikely for the fertilized egg to have completed implantation at 4 DPO, so you probably won’t be getting a big fat positive (BFP) test result just yet. It’s normal to want to find out if you’re pregnant as soon as possible, but experts recommend waiting at least until the first day of your missed period to take a pregnancy test.
Taking a home pregnancy test so soon after ovulation will probably result in a negative test, even if you are indeed pregnant. To keep this from happening, wait until you miss your period before you take a pregnancy test. By then, if you’re pregnant, your hCG will probably be high enough to be detected.
Four DPO is still very early in your pregnancy, but there is a lot happening inside your body already. The fertilized egg is already developing and preparing for the long journey ahead. It’s still too soon to take a pregnancy test, but in a couple weeks, you’ll be able to confirm whether or not you’re pregnant.