4 DPO: Are there any pregnancy symptoms at 4 days past ovulation?

    Updated 24 November 2023 |
    Published 17 June 2019
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Rhalou Allerhand
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    Are you wondering when you can take a pregnancy test? Here’s the lowdown on 4 DPO.

    From a missed period to sore breasts, the signs of early pregnancy look different for everyone. But when you’re trying to conceive, it’s understandable to be on high alert for any new feelings, especially as the wait to actually find out if you’re pregnant can feel like an eternity. So it’s no wonder lots of us are wondering if it’s possible to experience pregnancy symptoms as early as 4 days past ovulation (DPO).

    The short answer is 4 DPO is too early to tell if you are pregnant because technically you aren’t — yet. Here’s the thing: If a sperm fertilizes your egg during your fertile window, then you’ve conceived. But you’re not officially pregnant until implantation happens (the embryo attaching to your uterine lining), typically around six to 10 days after conception. Want to know more? Let’s look at 4 DPO in more detail.

    Key takeaways

    Everything you need to know about getting pregnant

    From when to have sex to early signs of pregnancy

    4 DPO: What to expect

    First up, let’s look at what DPO means because when we’re new to trying to conceive, there’s a lot of terminology to get our heads around. DPO is one of the many fertility acronyms people use. (To make life easier you can find a roundup of the most common ones here.) Put simply, it means days past ovulation or the number of days since you last ovulated. So at 4 DPO, one of your ovaries released an egg about four days ago. 

    Understanding the way your hormones fluctuate during your cycle may help you to make sense of how you might be feeling right now. Let’s break it down.

    • The follicular phase: The first part of your cycle is known as your follicular phase. The first day of a new period marks the first day of a new cycle. Easy to remember, right? The length of your period is pretty personal to you. There’s no one-size-fits-all. At this point in your cycle, your estrogen levels rise, and the lining of your uterus thickens to prepare your body for ovulation.
    • The luteal phase: On around day 14 of your cycle, one of your ovaries will release an egg. This is ovulation. From ovulation until the end of your cycle, you enter your luteal phase. This means that when you’re 4 DPO, you’re in this phase of your cycle. Your progesterone levels will rise and — if you conceive — then your fertilized egg may implant into the lining of your uterus. This usually takes around six to 10 days, so you’ll be six to 10 DPO if implantation happens. 

    It’s implantation that triggers the earliest signs of pregnancy. Your body starts to release human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — the hormone that pregnancy tests can detect in your urine. It can take a little bit of time for hCG to show up on tests, as your levels start low and usually rise rapidly in the early weeks of your 1st trimester. This is why it’s a good idea to wait until the first day of a missed period before taking a pregnancy test. 

    Since implantation occurs from six DPO, 4 DPO is still a little early in the luteal phase to notice any signs of pregnancy. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t feel anything during this time. “People may still be experiencing symptoms of ovulation, although these symptoms like bloating and spotting are more common in the one to two days after ovulation,” says Dr. Sara Twogood, obstetrician and gynecologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Group, California, US.

    Can I take a pregnancy test at 4 DPO, or is it too early?

    No matter what you’d like the outcome to be, waiting to take a pregnancy test can feel pretty impossible. However, to get an accurate result, it’s best to wait until the first day of a missed period. This means that 4 DPO is generally too early to take a pregnancy test. 

    While this might sound frustrating, it’s crucial that you give your body enough time to produce enough hCG after implantation so it can be detected in your urine and you can avoid getting a false-negative test result. 

    Trying to conceive can be an emotional time, so try to be kind to yourself. Doing little things and putting in place strategies to regularly take your mind off the two-week wait can help. Call a friend or family member when you find your mind wandering, start a new TV show, watch your favorite movie, or find a mindfulness practice that feels right for you. 

    4 DPO symptoms

    If it’s unlikely that implantation has happened yet at 4 DPO, you might be curious as to why you might be feeling cramping, nausea, or fatigue. This could be due to the fact that, just like in early pregnancy, some premenstrual symptoms can also be chalked up to a fluctuation in your estrogen and progesterone levels. This can make it tough to differentiate between the two. At 4 DPO, you might be experiencing:

    Spotting

    Light bleeding between your periods is sometimes known as spotting. It’s pretty common and usually nothing to worry about. You might notice spotting around the time that your fertilized egg implants into the lining of your uterus. This is known as implantation bleeding. However, 4 DPO is early for implantation, so it’s unlikely that this is a sign of pregnancy at this point.

    Cramping 

    You might find yourself reaching for a hot water bottle due to cramps around the time of ovulation and just before your period. During your cycle, the lining of your uterus produces hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. These aid in ovulation and your period. They can also cause your uterus to contract and you to feel cramps. However, cramping in your abdomen is also a common early pregnancy symptom. Confusing, right? 

    Mood changes 

    Fluctuations in your estrogen and progesterone levels can contribute to you feeling more tearful or angry than usual. You might already be a pro at managing mood changes before the start of your period, knowing the little things that make you feel better. But did you know that mood changes are also pretty common during pregnancy as your hormone levels change? It can be tough to distinguish between these two causes, but 4 DPO is still too early to establish if you’re pregnant. 

    Bloating

    Your progesterone levels rise after ovulation, and this could leave you feeling a little bloated. If you’ve conceived, your estrogen, progesterone, and hCG levels continue to rise. This means — you guessed it — at the beginning of pregnancy, you might feel bloated too. Fluctuations in your hormones support your body as your fertilized egg develops and your placenta starts to grow. However, because it’s unlikely that implantation has happened just yet at 4 DPO, it’s a little too soon to see bloating as a pregnancy sign. 

    Nausea

    Nausea (sometimes known as morning or pregnancy sickness) is perhaps one of the most well-known symptoms of early pregnancy. But it can be due to normal changes in your hormone levels brought on by your cycle, too. For example, period nausea is also common during your luteal phase

    Sore breasts

    Boob pain during your cycle and before your period — sometimes referred to as cyclical breast pain — can be linked to changing hormone levels. However, breast pain and tenderness is a common early sign of pregnancy. Your boobs can grow, change shape, and become more sensitive as your body prepares for milk production. 

    Early signs of pregnancy

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    4 DPO and no symptoms

    How long it takes to “feel” pregnant varies for everyone, and it can take a few weeks before you feel any symptoms at all. At 4 DPO, you’re more than halfway through your menstrual cycle, but implantation probably hasn't happened yet. So it’s perfectly normal if you don’t feel any different. 

    More FAQs

    What are positive signs of implantation?

    You might be curious if you can feel implantation when it’s happening. Interestingly, some people say they can. Light bleeding and cramping may be a sign of implantation. However, Dr. Twogood says, “People can’t usually tell when implantation is occurring.” This doesn’t mean that implantation won’t happen; it just might not have happened yet. 

    What does your cervix feel like 4 days after ovulation?

    It’s pretty hard to monitor changes to your cervix at home, and you might be curious as to why you’d want to. It could actually be an indicator of what’s going on in your cycle, as your cervix can change texture throughout your cycle. During ovulation, it’s soft in texture and moves further up. If you don’t conceive, then after ovulation, your cervix may feel harder again. However, if you get pregnant, it will remain soft, and your cervix might gradually soften throughout your pregnancy. 

    It can be hard to spot changes in your cervix if you don’t know what your cervix feels like normally (and let’s be honest — most of us don’t).

    Is it normal to not have symptoms at 4 DPO?

    When you’re trying to conceive, it can be tough not to look for symptoms. Waiting until a missed period to take a test can feel like an eternity, but try to remember that everyone experiences pregnancy differently. You might not feel any changes or symptoms until a few weeks into your 1st trimester, and that’s totally normal. Other people say they knew the moment they conceived.

    References

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    Betz, Danielle, and Kathleen Fane. “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2023, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532950/.

    “Cervical Length: Why Does It Matter during Pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic, 28 May 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/cervical-length/faq-20058357

    “Cervix.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23279-cervix. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

    “Changes during Pregnancy.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, www.acog.org/womens-health/infographics/changes-during-pregnancy. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

    Charlewood, G. P. “Mittelschmerz or Ovulation Pain.” Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Geneeskunde [South African Medical Journal], vol. 32, no. 10, Mar. 1958, pp. 261–62.

    “Doing a Pregnancy Test.” NHS, www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/doing-a-pregnancy-test/. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023. 

    “Follicular Phase.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23953-follicular-phase. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

    Gudipally, Pratyusha R., and Gyanendra K. Sharma. “Premenstrual Syndrome.” StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing, 2023, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560698/.

    “Hormones during Pregnancy.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-during-pregnancy/hormones-during-pregnancy. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.

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    “Is Implantation Bleeding Common in Early Pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic, 19 Apr. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/implantation-bleeding/faq-20058257

    “Luteal Phase.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/24417-luteal-phase. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

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    Su, Ren-Wei, and Asgerally T. Fazleabas. “Implantation and Establishment of Pregnancy in Human and Nonhuman Primates.” Advances in Anatomy, Embryology, and Cell Biology, vol. 216, 2015, pp. 189–213, https://doi.org/10.1007%2F978-3-319-15856-3_10.

    Thiyagarajan, Dhanalakshmi K., et al. “Physiology, Menstrual Cycle.” StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing, 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500020/.

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    History of updates

    Current version (24 November 2023)

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Angela Jones, Obstetrician and gynecologist, attending physician, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, New Jersey, US
    Written by Rhalou Allerhand

    Published (17 June 2019)

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