Before we dive into all things 12 DPO, it’s helpful to understand when to start counting the days after ovulation so you know what signs to look out for — and when.
Before the internet, it used to take a lot of effort and best guesses about when ovulation would occur. Now, fertility tracking apps like Flo allow you to easily track and monitor physical and emotional symptoms throughout your cycle, giving you a more precise idea of when ovulation occurs.
In a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, there are approximately 6 consecutive days where the chance of getting pregnant is highest. Ovulation is the day when one of the ovaries releases an egg from a dominant follicle, so 12 days past ovulation is measured from that point forward.
One sign that you’ve ovulated is a change to your basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature, or BBT for short, rises slightly (less than a degree) after an egg is released. When ovulation takes place, the tissue that formed a dominant follicle turn into corpus luteum — a temporary endocrine structure that mainly produces progesterone. It’s progesterone that is responsible for BBT elevation.
You’ll need to have been tracking your BBT every day for at least three cycles to know if your temperature increase is due to ovulation or not. Ovulation kits also provide a way for you to find out if you’re ovulating.
Now that you know when to measure 12 DPO, what early pregnancy symptoms should you be aware of?
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12 DPO cramping can feel a lot like the cramps you get right before your period. After ovulation, it can take anywhere from 7 to 12 days for the fertilized egg to implant itself into the inner lining of the uterus — the endometrium. The cramping is your uterus responding to the fertilized egg attaching to its nutrient-rich inner lining.
If you tend to get premenstrual cramps a couple of days before your period, but your cramps start up to a week early, it may be a sign that you’re pregnant. Pregnancy cramps also tend to be milder than period cramps and appear intermittently over several days.
12 DPO spotting
Another telltale symptom of early pregnancy is brown spotting at 12 DPO. Approximately 7 to 12 days after ovulation, some women experience light vaginal bleeding — also known as implantation bleeding — if they’re pregnant. The fertilized egg burrows itself into the uterine inner lining, which can cause some of the lining (including blood and other fluid) to shed through the cervix.
Implantation bleeding at 12 DPO is light spotting and shouldn’t last more than three days if you are indeed pregnant. Otherwise, it might just be a sign that you’re menstruating.
Tender or sore breasts is another early pregnancy symptom that’s shared with PMS. In the case of 12 DPO symptoms, your body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) after egg implantation. This hormone mainly maintains corpus luteum in the ovary and promotes its production of progesterone.
The hormone increases rapidly in early pregnancy, so if your breasts feel more tender, sore, or swollen than they usually do before your period, pregnancy could be to blame!
Fatigue is another common 12 DPO symptom. Unlike PMS fatigue that wears off after a day or two, if you’re in the early stages of pregnancy, you might feel exhausted. Fatigue in early pregnancy is caused in large part by the increase of progesterone.
Are you 12 DPO and needing to pee more than you normally do? Pregnancy increases the volume of blood and other fluids in your body. Your kidneys have to work harder to process the increase in fluid, which eventually ends up in the bladder to be removed through urination.
It’s important to remember that these 12 DPO symptoms won’t give you a conclusive answer as to whether you’re pregnant or not. Most of the symptoms might feel familiar to you, too, because they’re often experienced as PMS symptoms in the days leading up to your period. You might only experience a few of these symptoms if you’re pregnant at 12 DPO — or you might experience none at all.
Do you want to know if your 12 DPO pregnancy symptoms actually mean you’re pregnant? That’s where pregnancy tests come in!
Since early pregnancy symptoms are so similar to premenstrual symptoms, you might be wondering if 12 DPO is too early to test with an at-home pregnancy kit.
Pregnancy tests detect if your blood or urine has the hCG hormone, which the body starts to produce approximately 7 to 12 days after ovulation, once the fertilized egg attaches to your uterus inner lining. hCG hormones continue to rise rapidly in the days that follow, so at 12 DPO don’t be surprised if you get a BFP (big fat positive) on your test! It’s recommended to take a urine pregnancy test after your missed period. If you’re eager to know if you are pregnant before that — like on 12 DPO — a blood test to detect hCG will be more accurate.
If you have 12 DPO symptoms and a BFP result on your pregnancy test, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the result.
If you get a negative pregnancy test at 12 DPO, don’t fret. A 12 DPO BFN (big fat negative) isn’t always accurate — especially if the pregnancy test you’re using isn’t sensitive to lower levels of the hCG hormone. Many at-home pregnancy tests are most effective at determining pregnancy from the date your period was supposed to start. Some women at 12 DPO get a BFN then a BFP a few days later!
Follow the instructions on the package or make an appointment with your doctor to have a more thorough pregnancy test done.
Should you worry about being pregnant if you’re 12 DPO and have no symptoms? Probably not. The only conclusive way to know that you’re pregnant in the first couple of weeks following conception is by visiting your doctor for testing.
Whether you’re planning a family with your partner or ready to have a baby on your own, it’s helpful to know the early signs of pregnancy when you’re trying to conceive. The 12 DPO pregnancy symptoms we’ve listed above might give you the first signs you’re looking for that your efforts have worked!