9 Signs That Labor Is 24 To 48 Hours Away!

There are many signs to look at 48 to 24 hours before the actual labor starts. This includes a deep nesting period, lower back pain, water break, removal of mucus plug, lightning, losing weight, Braxton hicks, dilation, and loosened pelvis. Not every woman might experience all or even any of these signs, but if you do, you need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to welcome your baby into the world. 

I hope your diaper bags are ready because you’re about to become a mommy! All those months preparing, nesting, worrying, taking care of each and everything, and preparing some more finally comes down to this moment.

There’s nervousness and anxiety, and you realize things have started to turn as you witness various things happening to your body.

Just two days before the actual birth, your body gives out some prominent signs that the baby is finally ready to come out, and you should prepare yourself mentally for it.

Contractions are a definite sign of labor, and everyone knows what it means, but there’re other things that you might not know that are signaling towards birth. Let’s take a look!

9 ways to know labor is coming soon

In movies, they always show the woman going right into contractions and cutting to looking at the newborn in their arms. But the actual process is much different than what’s portrayed there.

In reality, it’s a different process for each woman, and while some may experience two or three signs, others may experience more.

Even though your doctor gives you an estimated due date for delivery, it might or might not happen on the due date.

So, basically, you’re relying on your body and the signs for the labor to start.

Below are all the signs a pregnant woman might face when the labor is 48 to 24 hours away:

1. Deep nesting

A pregnant woman in her third trimester is actively preparing for her upcoming baby, also known as deep nesting

When the mommy-to-be arrives into their third trimester, nesting begins.

Your natural instinct to be prepared kicks in, and you start worrying about the stuff that should be ready for the baby, including the hospital bag to take when the time comes.

This nesting phase might come and go during the last three months of pregnancy but return with force just about two or three days before you’re about to go into active labor.

You might start rearranging your nursery or think of buying more stuff for the baby even if there’s no such need. 

This is a sign of labor from your body before going into labor, and you might have a burst of energy than usual to redo everything or arrange for more stuff.

So, if you’re near your due date and start worrying more than ever about if the hospital bag is ready, take it as a sign and be prepared.

2. Lower back pain

Another common sign one looks out for during the third trimester is an increase in the pain in the lower back.

This pain increases over time as the baby grows as your body takes on a lot of pressure with the growing baby.

This back pain is common for the body as it’s preparing and loosening up to make space for the baby. But if your body starts feeling this pain more intensely around the due date, it might be time to prepare yourself for your baby’s arrival.

While back pain is a common sign for going into labor, it could be a sign of back labor.

Back labor is when your baby is sunny side up, which means their toes will come out first and head last. 

Feeling an increasing back pain is a sure sign you’re about to go into active labor, and the time is near. 

3. Water breaking

This is one thing apart from active contractions shown on various platforms when a mother is about to go into labor.

You might think every woman’s water breaks, but it’s not true, for it might be a whole lot of amniotic fluid, but for others, just a bit of it to indicate the baby’s about to come.

This is the fluid called the amniotic sac your baby is surrounded in, and when it breaks, your contractions should start soon, so leaving for the hospital should be an immediate step.

You will feel wetness, more like constant fluid leaking from the vagina, which can be clear or yellow. 

If the water breaks before the labor starts, it’s called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM) which could be risky. 

4. Removal of mucus plug

I know it sounds unpleasant, but a mucus plug is a thick collection of mucus that actually seals the opening of the cervix.

Consider this as a cork of a champagne bottle which indicates labor is near when it pops.

This plug is quite important to stop bacteria from entering your uterus, and when the labor is near, it pops, loosens, and drops out.

So, if you see a blob of mucus-like vaginal discharge on your underwear or when you’re wiping yourself on the toilet seat, then it’s a sign your labor is about to begin.

Its color varies from clear to pink, and there might be traces of blood.

I know it’s nothing pleasant to look at, but you should be aware of something like it before you start panicking in case you don’t know. 

5. Lightening

If you’ve ever heard of the term “baby drop,” you might have wondered what it actually means.

In simple terms, it refers to starting the labor process, also known as lightning. 

It’s when your baby’s head literally drops lower into your pelvis, becoming engaged within your pubic bones and ready to start coming out.

It can happen weeks, days, and even hours ago, and this is more a feeling that a mother gets when the baby has started to come into position ready for labor

6. Losing weight

Now, this isn’t the weight loss where you might start shedding the weight put on during the pregnancy but more like the water weight to lose. In the days before the labor, you’ll often start urinating as the baby drops in preparation for delivery.

Women even lose one to three pounds just a couple of days before the actual labor, and it’s a normal sign before going into labor 48 or 24 hours later. 

7. Braxton hicks contractions

A pregnant woman is in pain because she is feeling Braxton hicks contractions, a sign she might be going into labor soon

You know what contractions mean, or you must have read extensively about it beforehand, but for those first-time mommy’s, it’s challenging to differentiate between Braxton hicks contractions and real contractions.

In the final stages of pregnancy, one can experience Braxton hicks contractions, and they’re mostly like a practice test before the real exam begins.

Also known as false labor, they can occur anytime after entering your third trimester and even a couple of days before the actual labor. 

What differentiates them from true labor contractions are:

  • Tightening in abdomen
  • Contractions come and go
  • Contractions don’t get stronger or in a close interval
  • They might go away by changing position 

If any of the above is not happening and, in fact, the contractions are happening in a close interval and getting closer, then it’s right to assume they’re true labor contractions. There’s an immediate need to go to the hospital. 

8. Dilation

You know, for the baby to come out, you need to be 10 centimeters dilated for a vaginal delivery. As unimaginable it sounds, it does happen, and yes, your body is capable of doing this. 

The dilation process differs from woman to woman, and depending on how long it takes your cervix to widen up will determine the whole labor process.

For some women, it’s a slow and time taking process, and if you’re dilated 2-3 centimeters, that might mean you’ll deliver in the next 48 to 24 hours. 

It totally depends on your body, and you might dilate to 10 cm quickly, so having someone with you is essential to keep a watch on the contractions.

The shorter the interval gets, the quicker you’re dilating and ready to deliver. 

9. Loosened pelvis

As the body prepares itself to deliver the baby, it starts loosening up a day or two before the labor.

Towards the end of your pregnancy, your body releases more of the hormone relaxin, which loosens your joints and ligaments in preparation for delivery.

Your pelvis, abdomen, and generally the lower area might start feeling loosened or relaxed, which indicates the beginning of the labor process.

You might also experience diarrhea as a signal of the loosened muscles down there. 


How do you feel days before labor begins?

There are a lot of changes taking place in the last few days before the active labor takes place.

Not every woman might experience all of these signs of labor, but there are a couple every woman might go through. 

There’s usually nervous energy, and you might feel energized for some reason. That’s your hormones kicking in, and there might be an extreme nesting period where you think you’re not ready for it.

Have a family member with you to calm down during the last couple of days. 

What is silent labor?

Some women don’t feel the initial stage of labor pain and then feel the intense contractions at the last minute.

It’s as if their womb contracts so painlessly that they don’t feel the contractions in the first stage of labor at all.

The labor is short for them as they easily reach the stage of the urge to push the baby out, which is a gradual process for others. 

What are the five signs of labor?

1. The contractions are strong, and the time interval gets shorter.
2. The contractions are regular, and they’ve been going on for an hour.
3. The pain in the abdomen doesn’t go away even if you change positions or go to the restroom and there’s an urge to push.
4. Your water breaks that’s amniotic fluid to keep the baby safe in the belly.
5. There’s a bloody or mucus discharge commonly known as mucus plug. 

What triggers labor?

There’s no knowing what triggers labor. When your body is ready, the baby comes into the proper position to get out of the birth canal.

This is why there are premature deliveries too, and sometimes there’re late deliveries too.

Although, doctors suggest a few tricks which can help induce labor when you’re past the due date, such as eating spicy food, exercising, castor oil, acupuncture, sex, and so on. 

To summarize

Pregnancy kind of becomes your safe zone as you enter the third trimester, and you’ve adapted to the whole process as you learn to tackle all the strings that come attached with it.

So, it can be a bittersweet experience to part ways it and actually have your baby into your arms. 

It can be scary and exciting at the same time, so your body gives you a couple of days to kind of come to terms with the fact that the baby is finally about to come.

There are plenty of signs of labor approaching your body will give you in the last two days, and it’s vital to know what these are. 

During the last couple of days, you should have your friends or family members with you to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. 

Was this article helpful?

As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

Leave a Comment