Guide to Days Past Ovulation (DPO) and Pregnancy
What is DPO?
If you are trying to get pregnant, the two weeks after ovulation can be a very stressful time as you wonder whether every twinge and ache that you experience is a sign of pregnancy. This is complicated by the fact that many pregnancy symptoms are mimic premenstrual symptoms and also pregnancy symptoms vary between women. Days past ovulation (DPO) is the number of days since you last ovulated and it is a way of helping you to understand what is going on in your body on different days past ovulation and provides a day by day outline of the various changes taking place. We hope that having this information will help you to feel more in control.
What changes are happening to your body in early pregnancy?
0 DPO – 6 DPO (luteal phase)
Ovulation is a crucial step in getting pregnant and describes the process of an egg being released from the ovaries. This egg then travels along the fallopian tube where it will meet the sperm and will hopefully get fertilised. The egg is only viable and available for about 24 hours, meaning that if you are trying for a baby you need to have sexual intercourse in the five days before or 24 hours after ovulation for the best odds of pregnancy.
If the egg is fertilised it develops into an embryo which over the next 5-7 days divides itself until it becomes a blastocyst which is ready for implantation in the lining of the womb.
Over these initial DPO your levels of progesterone – a hormone that supports early pregnancy – rise and you may experience the following symptoms (unhelpfully these are very similar to pre menstrual symptoms!)
- Breast tenderness
- Cramps that are felt in the abdomen, pelvis, or lower back
- Mood swings
8 DPO – 11 DPO pregnancy
Over these days the developed blastocyst will travel to the uterus and implant in the lining of the uterus. Implantation will happen 6 – 12 days after fertilisation. Levels of progesterone continue to rise and this helps your uterus to support the successful development of an embryo.
At implantation, the body begins producing a pregnancy hormone – human chorionic gonadotropin which is responsible for the early symptoms of pregnancy. This is the hormone that pregnancy tests identify – although it takes time for levels to rise enough to be detected.
Symptoms of pregnancy to look out for:
During implantation a few blood vessels are damaged and so the first sign to look our for is slight bleeding or spotting that is a lighter colour than usual. This implantation bleeding is experienced by around 25% of women.
You may also experience:
- Light cramping and tingling sensations
- Breast tenderness
12 DPO – 14 DPO pregnancy
During this phase levels of human chorionic gonadotropin levels rise and lead to many early pregnancy symptoms including:
- A darkening of the nipples
- Food cravings
- Increased appetite
In addition you may notice that you have a raised body temperature and changes in blood pressure and heart rate. This is because during pregnancy your body pumps more blood to carry nutrients to the developing foetus.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ovulation
The role of The Liver
According to TCM the Liver governs our emotions. Trying for a baby is stressful for many women and can cause anxiety and depression. These emotions can block the free circulation of energy around the Liver Meridian which in turn can delay or even stop ovulation entirely.
According to TCM successful ovulation can be optimised by treating the Liver with acupuncture or herbal medicine or a combination of the two.
When we are tense or stressed the flow of energy – our Qi – through the Liver is compromised resulting in Liver Qi Stagnation. This stagnation of energy results in the flow of blood to the organs becoming diminished. A lack of blood flow to the reproductive organs can impede their function – meaning that ovulation is less likely to occur.
Symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation include: irritability, bloating in the abdominal area and breast tenderness. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often have Liver Qi Stagnation.
The role of the Kidney
The Kidney is responsible for regulating the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. It is therefore vital that the meridians of this organ are well maintained. There are two forms of Kidney energy that are particularly important in the early days of pregnancy – Kidney Yang and Kidney Yin.
A well balanced Kidney Yang energy supports the production of progesterone and maintains an elevated body temperature after ovulation. A woman with deficient Kidney Yang may have cold hands and feet or be intolerant to the cold. Women with this may also have a long menstrual cycle.
Kidney Yin is responsible for the production of cervical mucus and the opening of the cervix during ovulation.
Symptoms of Kidney Yin deficiency include: night sweats, hot flashes and ittle to no cervical mucus.
If you are struggling to ovulate …
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help induce ovulation
Acupuncture entails positioning single use sterile needles into specific parts of the body in order to gently alter the flow of energy as it moves around the body.
Acupuncture treatment can help with reducing stress and calming down the mind and also boosts blood flow to the ovaries – it is therefore an ideal treatment to consider before and after ovulation as research has shown that it can optimise ovarian function and promote ovulation.
Twenty two studies with 2315 participants were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. A pooled analysis showed a recovery of the menstrual period (5 trials; 364 participants; SMD, −0.52; 95% CI [−0.89, −0.14]; I2 = 67%; P = .0007; low certainty) in the acupuncture group. Furthermore, there were significant decreases in the luteinizing hormone (LH) (13 trials; 917 participants; MD, −0.92; 95% CI [−1.43, −0.41]; I2 = 60%; P = .0004; very low certainty) and testosterone (13 trials; 923 participants; SMD, −0.46; 95% CI [−0.73, −0.20]; I2 = 75%; P = .0006; very low certainty) in the acupuncture group.
Acupuncture has been used as a fertility treatment for many years, generally it is recommended to incorporate acupuncture during the follicular phase (between days 5 – 8 of your menstrual cycle), the day of, before and after ovulation and during implantation (6dpo – 10dpo)
Chinese herbal medicines a long history of successfully helping to optimise fertility and there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates its effectiveness, particularly in early pregnancy. The herbal treatments are safe, natural and specifically tailored to help balance hormones, reduce stress and to boost blood flow to your reproductive organs. Numerous studies demonstrate that Chinese Herbal medicine could regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to induce ovulation and improve the uterus blood flow and menstrual changes of endometrium
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help induce ovulation, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.