10 Signs That Labor Is 24 To 48 Hours Away

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

As your due date for delivery approaches, you may wonder how you will know when labor is closed. Many women go into labor without any warning, while others have several hours or even days of prodromal labor before active labor begins.

It can be difficult to distinguish between the early signs of labor and false labor. However, there are some reliable signs that labor is imminent, especially if you have already had a baby before.

In this article, we will discuss the top signs that labor is 24 to 48 hours away.

  1. Water Breaking

    Water breaking is one of the most commonly discussed signs of labor, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood.

    Here’s what you need to know about water breaking: it can happen anywhere from 24 to 48 hours before labor begins, and it’s not always a sign that labor is imminent.

    So what exactly is water breaking? It’s simply the rupture of the amniotic sac, which is the membranous sac that surrounds and protects the fetus during pregnancy.

    When the sac ruptures, it can release a small amount of fluid or a large gush of fluid. The amount of fluid can vary from a few drops to a full-on flood.

    If your water breaks, it’s important to call your doctor or ask the midwife right away. They will likely want to come to your house or have you come to the hospital.

  1. Contractions

    Contractions are the tightening and hardening of the uterus during pregnancy. They are usually painless at first, but they may become strong and frequent as labor approaches.

    It may feel like a tightening or hardening of your uterus, or like menstrual cramps. It usually begins when the cervix starts to open (dilate) and soften in the days or hours before labor begins.

    As labor approaches, the contractions grow stronger and more frequent. They eventually become constant and close together, lasting for about 60 to 90 seconds each.

    Contractions are a normal and important part of labor. They help the cervix open so that your baby can pass through the birth canal.

  1. Weight Loss

    A day or two prior to giving birth, one to three pounds of weight can be lost.

    Your baby has dropped, which suggests that the majority of the weight is water weight and that your baby’s head is lowering in preparation for delivery.

    The weight of your baby’s head may increase the strain in your pelvis and on your bladder, making you urinate more frequently and leading you to lose water weight.

  1. Loss Of Mucus Plug

    Your mucus plug is a jelly-like substance that sits at the opening of your cervix. It helps to keep the cervix sealed, preventing bacteria and other germs from entering the uterus.

    The loss of the mucus plug is a sign that the cervix is beginning to dilate or open up, in preparation for labor.

    In most cases, the loss of the mucus plug happens a few days before labor begins. But in some cases, it can happen up to a week before labor starts.

  1. Cervical Dilation

    Cervical dilation is one of the key signs that labor is approaching. It occurs when the cervix, the opening at the bottom of the uterus, begins to open up and thin out.

    This process usually starts a few weeks before labor begins and accelerates as labor gets closer. There are a few things you can look for to see if cervical dilation is happening.

    One is changes in your vaginal discharge. You may notice that your discharge becomes watery and pinkish. This is called “show” and is a sign that the cervix is beginning to dilate.

    Another sign of cervical dilation is pelvic pressure. This is caused by the baby’s head pressing down on the cervix, which can make it feel like you need to urinate or have a bowel movement.

  1. Nesting

    Nesting is an instinct that causes you to want to prepare your home for your new baby. You may feel the urge to clean, organize, and nesting can even be a sign that labor is 24 to 48 hours away.

    If you’re starting to experience nesting impulses, it’s a good idea to start getting your home ready for your new arrival. But don’t overdo it – remember to listen to your body and take breaks when you need to.

  1. Lower Back Pain

    Lower back pain is a common symptom of pregnancy, and it can be a sign that labor is imminent.

    If you experience lower back pain that is severe and/or accompanied by other signs of labor, such as increased vaginal discharge or bloody show, it is important to contact your healthcare provider.

    They will be able to determine if you are in labor and advise you on what to do next.

  1. Diarrhea

    Diarrhea can be a sign that labor is 24 to 48 hours away. This is because the hormone prostaglandin is released in larger amounts during the late stages of pregnancy, and this hormone can cause diarrhea. 

    Of course, not all women who have diarrhea late in pregnancy will go into labor within the next 24 to 48 hours.

    However, if you’re close to your due date and you experience diarrhea, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for other signs of labor.

  1. Loose Joints

    As your due date approaches, you may start to notice some changes in your body. One of these changes is that your joints may start to feel a bit more “loose.” 

    When you are in the last few weeks of pregnancy, the hormone relaxin begins to circulate through your body. This hormone helps to relax your joints and ligaments in preparation for childbirth.

    This is why you may feel like your joints are a bit more “loose” than usual. While some looseness in your joints is normal during pregnancy, you should still pay attention to any sudden or severe joint pain that you may experience.

  1. Cramps

    One sign that labor maybe 24 to 48 hours away is persistent, low back cramping that is not relieved by rest or changing position.

    This type of cramping is caused by the uterus contracting and is a sign that labor is beginning.

    While cramps can be a sign that labor is 24 to 48 hours away, they can also occur for other reasons.

    For example, cramps can be caused by dehydration, constipation, or Braxton Hicks contractions.


In conclusion, the nearing of labor is a time of excitement and anxiety for many mothers. It is important to be prepared for when labor begins.

There are many signs that labor is 24 to 48 hours away. These include an increase in vaginal discharge, nesting, and backaches. Paying attention to these signs can help you be ready when labor begins.

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