13 Sure Signs That Labor Is 24 To 48 Hours Away

This blog is especially for all the expectant mothers out there, especially those who are in their third trimester and are wondering, “what are the sure signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away?” 

You may be thrilled, curious, and worried at the same time to know when you can hold your little babies in your arms and get relieved from the nine months of heartburn, nausea, weight gain, swollen ankles, etc.  

There must be a reason why most women try different ways to get their labour started despite knowing it’s going to hurt a lot. If you’ve delivered a baby past their due date, know the struggle. In due course, it feels like everyone on the planet has asked you, “Have you had that baby yet?” 

What Are The Sure Signs That Labor Is 24 To 48 Hours Away?

So, when is your baby actually coming? To determine this, we’ve compiled a list of thirteen sure signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away. 

Water breaking

This is one of the critical signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away, and there’s a specific reason for that. During the pregnancy, your baby is cushioned and protected by a fluid-filled amniotic sac. At the start of the labour, the amniotic sac ruptures, and the baby needs to be born within 24 – 48 hours to avoid infection. 

You may be startled to know that about 80% of women don’t experience water breaking until contractions have already begun. The rest, 20%, often experience labour pains within a couple of hours. Nonetheless, things start happening pretty soon after you get splashed.

Water breaking is more likely to be a small trickle of fluid rather than a big gush of water. In fact, it’s difficult to tell whether your water has broken or if you’re just experiencing a vaginal discharge, or if you’ve just peed a pit in your underpants. 

To spot the difference, know that amniotic fluid from water breaking is an odourless, pale fluid. Vaginal discharge, on the flip side, is a thin, milky white mucus that’s comparable to what you experience in between your periods. 

Loss of mucus plug

The plug seals the opening of the cervix during pregnancy to keep any bacteria from entering the uterus and inducing any infection. As the labour approaches, the cervix dilates, and the plug gets released before dropping out. This is one among those signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away. 

Bloody show

Losing mucus plug and blood show are closely associated events. You can only have the bloody show once you have lost the plug, and it generally happens quickly after that. But they aren’t the same thing. 

The mucus plug is transparent and has little to no blood, whereas the blood show is a clear blend of mucus and blood. Once you’ve already lost the mucus plug, the bloody show is a key sign that the blood vessels in the cervix are breaking off as it ruptures and dilates. 

Again, it’s challenging to tell when exactly a woman commences labour after the bloody show. But in most cases, a woman enters labour a couple of hours or a couple of days after the bloody show. 

Braxton hicks

Braxton hicks are also called “false labour” because they provide women with the contractions days or even months before actual labour (generally during the third trimester).

They are a vital indication that your uterine muscles are preparing for delivery. However, they are usually much milder than what you would feel during actual labour and only last for a couple of moments. 


Another one, but relatively less common, of the signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away is nausea. If you are approaching the end of your pregnancy and you feel nauseated and also vomit all of a sudden, there’s a considerable chance that your baby is on the way.


Several women experience frequent bowel movements, if not diarrhoea, at least 24 to 48 hours before labour. This is a major consequence of your changing level of hormones and prepping up your body for delivery.

They make the muscles in your cervix, uterus, and rectum loosen, which can lead to loose bowel movements or diarrhoea

Lower back pain

Suppose you experience lower back pain, congrats! This is also one of the signs that labour is 24 to 48 hours away.

While lower back pain is pretty common during pregnancy, the lower back pain just before labour will feel much different and more uncomfortable. 

This lower back pain occurs mainly because the back of the baby’s head presses against your spine and tailbone as it makes its way through the birth canal. Also, changing your positions won’t provide any sort of relief. 

Extreme nesting

If you’ve already experienced some nesting yet, you may be aware of that uncontrollable urge to ensure that everything is perfect when your little one arrives, cleaning every corner of your house as you’ve never cleaned before, etc. 

While nesting is found to be at its peak during the third trimester, some pregnant women go into panic mode one or two days before labour starts. Thus, extreme nesting indeed can be one of the crucial signs that labour is 24 to 28 hours away. 

Also Read: Preeclampsia: Pregnancy Complications For Both You And Your Baby

Slight weight loss

If you tend to lose some pounds of weight, consider this as one of the important signs that labor is 24 to 28 hours away. So, yeah! It’s time to get prepared for welcoming the baby. 

Cervical dilation

Your gynecologist or midwife will surely check your cervix close to the end of your pregnancy and will determine how things are going on. Your cervix may be dilated and effaced for a few weeks before the baby comes. 

When your cervix is dilated about 3 centimeters or more, with constant contractions, you’re said to have entered the “active labor phase.” This phase lasts somewhere between 3 – 7 centimeters, and the “transition” is between 7 – 10 centimeters. When it is 10 centimeters dilated, this is the moment you’re ready to push. And when your cervix begins to open beyond 3 centimeters, labor is just around the corner.

Frequent urination

Towards the end of the pregnancy, the baby drops, which means that it will push on your bladder. This is the reason why women experience frequent urination


Cramping is also one of the signs that labor is 24 to 28 hours away. You can expect to have cramps similar to those you experience during your periods.

Loose joints

When you approach the end of your pregnancy, your body releases more hormones, which relax your joints and ligaments, especially in your lower back and pelvis. So, 24 – 48 hours before your labor, you’ll have looser and more relaxed joints in those regions of your body. 


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Natasha Patel

Natasha Patel is the senior writer for the women’s health edition at CheapMedicineShop.com. She worked as a primary care provider before joining the writer’s panel of the blog. She is also trained in routine obstetrics and continues to practice in Oklahoma, where she lives with her family.