21 DPO: Symptoms, Signs & What to Expect

21 DPO: Symptoms, Signs & What to Expect

Lots of women have their BFP by 21 DPO, but others are still playing the waiting game. Here’s our guide, whatever the tests are telling you.
So it’s been three weeks since you ovulated.

Maybe you’ve been able to keep yourself busy, or maybe every day has felt like a month.

Whatever your experience of the TWW (two-week wait), you’re bound to be running out of patience if you’re at 21 days post-ovulation and still waiting for your BFP.

(It’s a lot of acronyms, right? Don’t worry. You can find a refresher on the language of trying to conceive here)

And now let’s dive into what’s happening at 21 DPO, with help from embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar.

In this article: 📝

  • What to expect at 21 DPO?
  • Can implantation occur 21 days post ovulation?
  • Can you take a pregnancy test 21 days after ovulation?
  • What are common 21 DPO symptoms?

What to expect at 21 DPO?

There are a few reasons why you might be at 21 DPO with no period:

  • You could be pregnant with a positive test result ‒ Congrats, mama!
  • You could have a late period ‒ We get it, this whole TTC thing can be stressful, which doesn’t help.
  • You might have a longer cycle ‒ Some people with cycles that are 35 days or longer may find that they don’t get their BFP till later on. PCOS can also cause some irregularities in your cycle.
  • You may be experiencing an early pregnancy loss ‒ It can be scary to think about, and we don’t want to add to your stress at all, but it’s worth having the conversation, because 1 in 8 pregnancies sadly end in loss.
  • You could be pregnant with a negative test result ‒ Here’s where things can get complicated. This can happen, particularly if you have a longer or irregular cycle. So if you’re at 21 DPO with no period, give it a couple more days and keep testing.

How far along are you at 21 DPO?

So at 21 DPO, how many weeks pregnant are you?

If you’re pregnant and measuring from the first day of your last period, you’ve reached five weeks today.

To break this down, that’s two weeks of the follicular phase of your cycle, two weeks of the luteal phase after ovulation, and then one week after your period should have arrived.

Can implantation occur 21 days post ovulation?

It can, but it’s pretty rare, and usually only for those with irregular or long cycles ‒ as in 35 days or longer.

We have heard of some Peanut moms-to-be who have 42-day cycles, where implantation happened at around 21 DPO and they went on to have a healthy pregnancy.

But generally speaking, implantation tends to happen between 6 to 12 DPO for most regular cycles.

Can you have implantation bleeding at 21 DPO?

Not often, no. Implantation bleeding would normally happen anywhere between 6 to 12 DPO.

But for people with longer cycles, implantation bleeding at 21 DPO can happen.

If you notice some particularly heavy implantation bleeding, with clots, it’s worth checking in with your doctor, just in case.

Can you take a pregnancy test 21 days after ovulation?

Yes, you can take a 21 DPO pregnancy test, and it’s likely you’ll get an accurate result.

But if you have a longer cycle, it can be worth waiting until the day after your next expected period for the best results.

This is to give your 21 DPO hCG levels time to get high enough to show up on a pregnancy test.

Can you get a positive pregnancy test at 21 DPO?

Yes, many of our Peanut moms-to-be don’t get their BFP until 21 DPO ‒ particularly those with irregular or longer cycles.

Sometimes, it’s even a 21 DPO faint positive ‒ that still counts!

Blood tests at the doctor’s office are the most accurate, but home pregnancy tests can also detect the pregnancy hormone (that’s hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin) in your pee as early as four or five days before you miss your period.

They generally need a level of about 20mIU/ml of hCG to turn positive.

Your hCG at 21 DPO might be as high as 324-4130mIU/ml.

What if I get a 21 DPO negative pregnancy test?

What if you’ve been testing and you’re disappointed again by a 21 DPO BFN?

If you’re 21 DPO with no period and a negative pregnancy test, that can mean that you’re not pregnant this time around.

BFNs can be frustrating, even heartbreaking, but there is still hope.

Until your period comes, there is a chance you could be pregnant.

It could be that you ovulated later this month, or that the embryo implanted later than average, which means your hCG levels might still be too low to detect.

Make sure that you’re following all the instructions on the test, using your first morning pee, and keep testing every few days.

If you’re having what seems like pregnancy symptoms with no BFP, you might want to book an appointment with your doctor for a chat and a blood test.

You don’t just have to wait this out.

Sadly, it’s also possible to experience what used to be known as a false positive or a chemical pregnancy.

We prefer to call this early pregnancy loss.

In these cases, you were pregnant, the HPT was sensitive enough to pick up a low level of hCG, and then you had a very early miscarriage.

This news can be very difficult to process, so know that you’re not alone.

The Peanut community is there through all the ups and downs of TTC and early pregnancy.

At what DPO is the average BFP?

We can’t accurately say which DPO most women get their BFP, not least because it’s tricky to pinpoint exactly when ovulation happens.

Some tracking sites suggest the average is around 13-14 DPO, but there are always outliers.

Some women test as early as 9 DPO and get their BFP, some get false negatives a week after their period is due.

And some don’t get their BFP until 22 DPO!


What are common 21 DPO symptoms?

Here’s one for all the symptom-spotters out there.

21 DPO symptoms when pregnant are varied.

And they may feel pretty familiar to you, too ‒ they can be eerily similar to PMS symptoms, ovulation symptoms, and implantation symptoms.

For some mamas-to-be, unmistakable pregnancy symptoms kick in soon after implantation as their hCG starts to rise.

But some don’t feel anything until their sixth week, and others seem to sail through pregnancy feeling pretty much the same as they did before.

Here are some 21 DPO symptoms to watch out for:

  • Frequent bathroom breaks – Your hormones are sending extra blood to your kidneys, so you’re peeing more often.
  • Nausea and vomiting – Whoever called pregnancy nauseamorning sickness” obviously never experienced it, because it can strike at any time of day.
  • Cravings and aversions – We can laugh about craving ketchup on ice cream at 2 am, but the other side of the coin is food aversions, where the sight, smell, or texture of certain foods can be difficult to, well, swallow.

How do you feel at 21 DPO?

There are so many ways to go about this TTC journey, so at 21 DPO, there’s a world of ways you could be feeling.

So you know you’re not alone, we asked our Peanut community about their 21 DPO experiences ‒ sound familiar?

  • “I’m 21 DPO and 1 week late with my period. I do have slight cramping and nausea.” ‒ Megan
  • “21 DPO, no AF, and BFN! Since I’ve been tracking my AF I’ve been bang on. I held off from taking a test but now I’ve checked, and it’s a BFN. I wasn’t stressed until now.” ‒ Khinda
  • “21 DPO and just received my 3+ on a digital pregnancy test.” ‒ Sacha
  • “I am 21 DPO and still no period. this morning I woke up nauseous (yes this is why I’m awake at 6:30 on a Sunday) and with slight cramping almost feeling like my lower pelvis is feeling really heavy.” ‒ Meghan
  • “I’m 21 days DPO and still no period, but still a negative test. I’ve always had regular cycles.” ‒ Abby
  • “I calculated and I’m 21 DPO. My period is quite late, so I’m starting to get worried. I started spotting last night, very light pink. It’s still the same as of now.” ‒ Giselle
  • “I’m currently 21 DPO and AF is a week late now… a third test this morning (others on Monday and Wednesday) was BFN again. I’m booked in for a blood test at GP on Monday morning.” ‒ Scarlett
  • “21 DPO, finally had a darker test line than the control line, 5w5d today! Now to get an early reassurance scan booked in.” ‒ Becky

So whatever you’re feeling at 21 DPO, it’s valid.

Keep looking after yourself, and if you want to talk to people who get it, you’re welcome to join us on Peanut.

➡️ Read next: 22 DPO: Symptoms, Signs & What to Expect

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