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11 Signs That Your Labor Is 24 To 48 Hours Away


Are you ready to become a mom?

If yes, then you may be filled with a plethora of emotions of excitement, anxiety, nervousness, and whatnot.

But since you have pulled off more than eight months of pregnancy, we are sure you can pull off labor too.

One of the most crucial aspects you should know about labor is when Is it near?

So if you also want to know when you are in labor then this is the right article you have come across.

It is probably your first child and you might be wondering how would you feel when the labor is near so that you do not confuse it with a false alarm.

Moreover, there are even experienced moms who might confuse labor with a false alarm.

So is it even possible to figure out a day or two before when your labor might be near?

Yes, it is. Many pregnant ladies can observe certain signs and symptoms within 24 to 48 hours before they go into labor.

So get ready to meet your baby within a day or two and learn how to distinguish between mild contractions and cramps or true labor contractions.

Though the signs of labor are quite confusing, in this article we will help you to figure out how you could know when your labor is near.

These signs indicate that your baby may arrive in less than 24 to 48 hours.

Signs that your Labor is 24 to 48 hours away

Here are a few of the essential points to know when your labor is 24 to 48 hours away-

  1. Braxton Hicks

    One of the most common symptoms of labor is Braxton hick which is a type of[1] contraction.

    When your labor is near, you may face it difficult to differentiate between the different types of contractions.

    Braxton Hicks is a practice type of contraction that could feel like mild cramps.

    Here’s the science behind these cramps. When you face the Braxton Hicks contractions, your uterus tightens and hardens to prepare for the baby.

    Other than the Braxton Hicks contractions, you could also face cramps similar[2] to menstruation.

    The period like cramps may come and then go over for a few hours. Once you face such cramps, it may be a signal that your labor is near.

  2. Loss Of Mucus Plug

    The uterus of a female body is protected[3] at its opening with the mucus plug.

    Hence, it is the mucus plug that may help[4] to dodge any infection and bacteria from penetrating the uterus.

    However, a few days before your labor begins, this mucus plug can come out in the form of a blood-like discharge when you urinate.

    It could be a pink mixture of blood and hence is generally referred to as a bloody show.

    However, do not get afraid because the mucus plug is just a sign[5] that your cervix is starting to open and the labor is near.

    Sometimes you could even confuse mucus plug with a gradual bloody flow that appears all week or so before your labor.

    However, it is only when you notice a blob of mucus while urinating that you should contact your doctor.

  3. Diarrhea And Loose Stools

    Diarrhea is also a sign[6] that your labor may be near and it might be time to meet your baby soon.

    Sometimes just days or hours before Labour starts, your body starts to adapt to this process. 

    Due to the same reason, hormones called[7] prostaglandins are released into the body.

    The major function of this is to prepare your cervix for dilation due to uterine contractions.

    However, amplified levels of prostaglandins in your body could even incentivize your digestive system to contract and hence empty anything that is inside.

    Hence, no wonder why you could have diarrhea and lose bowel movements.

    Another reason for diarrhea is that when the labor is near, your body ensures that nothing gets in the way of your baby descending into the birth canal.

    Though diarrhea may be a common symptom of labor, you could always connect with your healthcare provider if you face stomach cramping along with it.

  4. Weight Loss

    One of the most surprising symptoms which you may observe a day or two ago you go into labor is weight loss.

    You can face a massive weight loss of 1 to 3 pounds just a day or two before labor. There are two reasons behind this weight loss.

    First of all, frequent urination that leads[8] to water loss could significantly reduce your weight.

    Frequent urination is because of the extra pressure exerted by your baby on the bladder as it descends downwards.

    Another reason for this weight loss could be the reduction[9] in the amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby during the gestation period.

  5. Water Breaking

    There is a clear misconception that water breaks just a few minutes before delivery, however, in reality, if your water breaks, then it could be a vivid symptom that your labor is 24 to 48 hours away.

    The major reason[10] behind water breaking is because the amniotic sac that keeps the baby inside breaks and hence the amniotic fluid is released.

    This amniotic fluid is filled with the different hormones that can incentivize the start of your labor.

    When your water breaks, you may feel wetness in your underwear or a sudden gush of water.

    You can observe water breaking either all at once or in small amounts of fluids. The color of this water is generally pale yellow.

  6. Cervical Dilation

    When your labor gets near, your cervix will start to dilate to prepare for the birth of your baby.

    This dilation process[11] is quite gradual and can speed up as the labor gets nearer.

    You can observe the symptom of cervical dilation by getting a measurement of your cervix done by your doctor.

    During the right time of delivery, your cervix will be dilated to approx 10 centimeters.

    However, a day or two before labor, the cervix may be just two to three centimeters dilated.

    So when your cervix is 2 to 3 centimeters dilated, then it could be a clear sign that your labor is a day or two away.

  7. Lower Back Pain

    When the contractions in your uterus become more intense and irregular, you may observe[12] lower back pain which is also common during pregnancy. 

    However, this back pain may be difficult to differentiate from your regular pregnancy aches.

    Another reason behind the lower back pain a day or two before you go into labor is that your[13] pelvic bones start to adapt when your baby drops further down into the pelvis.

    Generally, the lower back pain which you feel may come and go and cause discomfort.

    This shows that your Braxton Hicks are transforming into labor contractions because the baby is getting lower into the birth canal.

  8. Baby Drop

    Another symptom indicating[14] that your labor is approaching is once your baby has dropped into the lower pelvic cavity.

    This happens when you do not feel the baby pressing on your diaphragm and hence you can breathe easily.

    Since your baby has dropped into the pelvic cavity, the head of the little one may push on your bladder and hence increase the frequency of your urination.

  9. Nausea

    Just a day or two before your labor, your body tends to adapt itself for delivery.

    One such method to adapt for labor is when your digestive system uses a lot of energy which is later used during labor.

    The fact that your digestive system must empty itself before giving birth to your child may also lead to[15] nausea.

    Apart from this, the amplified levels of prostaglandin in your body may also result in nausea.

    Though nausea is a symptom of labor, it could be harmful when it comes along with vomiting, fever, or stomach cramps.

    In such conditions, you may have contracted a stomach virus and hence should consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

  10. Changes Tn The vaginal Discharge

    You could observe changes in[16] your vaginal discharge when your labor is near. These changes may appear even when your Mucus plug is still intact.

    The major change you may feel in the vagina discharge is that it might become thicker, stickier, and more watery than before.

    In rare situations, it could even turn a little pink.

  11. Loose Joints

    When your body prepares for labor, a hormone referred to[17] as Relaxin is released.

    This hormone could significantly result in loosening the ligaments that support your joints.

    Due to the same reason, you could feel as if your joints are cracking and are more flexible than usual.

    However, when your joints get loose and they could even result in diarrhea. This is a major side effect of relaxin because it relaxes the muscles of your rectum.

Let us sum it up

So these are some of the top symptoms that show how your labor may be a day or two ahead.

In most cases, the labor can start between 37 to 42 weeks after conception.

Moreover, sometimes you may experience false labor symptoms but if you have experienced childbirth before then it might be easier for you to differentiate between the actual symptoms and the false alarms.

Apart from the symptoms mentioned in this article, one important fact to take into consideration is your gut and pure instinct.

Sometimes the intuition regarding labor comes in the form of ‘nesting’, which is an undeniable urge to plan and organize to welcome your child.

So when you get this urge along with the other symptoms, then it may be time to connect with your Obstetrician-Gynecologist.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Deborah A. Raines; Danielle B. Cooper. Braxton Hicks Contractions. Last Update: December 16, 2021. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470546/
  2. Menstruation. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/menstruation.html
  3. Naja Becher , Kristina Adams Waldorf, Merete Hein, et al. The cervical mucus plug: structured review of the literature. Review Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2009;88(5):502-13. doi: 10.1080/00016340902852898. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19330570/
  4. LEA K. HANSEN, NAJA BECHER, SARA BASTHOLM, et al. The cervical mucus plug inhibits, but does not block, the passage of ascending bacteria from the vagina during pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2014 Jan; 93(1): 102–108. Published online 2013 Nov 25. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12296
  5. Am I in labor? Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000508.htm
  6. Diarrhoea. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diarrhoea
  7. Emanuela Ricciotti and Garret A. FitzGerald Prostaglandins and Inflammation Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011 May; 31(5): 986–1000.doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.207449
  8. Frequent or urgent urination. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003140.htm
  9. Amniotic fluid. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002220.htm#
  10. Premature rupture of membranes. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000512.htm
  11. Osarieme Evbuomwan; Yuvraj S. Chowdhury. Physiology, Cervical Dilation. Last Update: May 20, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557582/
  12. Jennifer Sabino and Jonathan N. Grauer. Pregnancy and low back pain. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Jun; 1(2): 137–141. Published online 2008 Feb 26. doi: 10.1007/s12178-008-9021-8
  13. Pelvic floor. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/pelvic-floor
  14. Your baby in the birth canal. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002060.htm
  15. Nausea and Vomiting. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/nauseaandvomiting.html
  16. Vaginal discharge. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/vaginal-discharge
  17. F Dehghan, B S Haerian, S Muniandy, et al. The effect of relaxin on the musculoskeletal system. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug; 24(4): e220–e229. Published online 2013 Nov 28. doi: 10.1111/sms.12149

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