Five Signs That Labor Is 24-48 Hours Away

Labor marks the end of pregnancy and start of motherhood. It’s what every mom-to-be is excited yet nervous about. It’s natural to worry about labor and look for signs that give you an idea of when it would start. While it’s true the exact timing of labor is difficult to predict, there are few tell-tale signs that can tell if labor is 24-48 hours away or a few days or a week away.

1. Baby drop or lightening

When you’re closer to your due date, the body starts to prepare for labor and the position of the baby changes. The baby moves downwards and the little one’s head settles in the pelvis. When this happens, the shape of your baby bumps also changes and it becomes visibly lower.

So what does it feel like when the baby drops? Usually it relieves the pressure on your chest and abdomen, making it easier to breathe and maybe enjoy a larger meal. Though, you may experience back aches, as there more pressure on the lower back.

Baby dropping is one of the first few signs of labor, so when it happens, labor is likely to follow in the coming weeks or even days.

2. Dilation

The cervix starts to open gradually during the ninth month of pregnancy. This process is called dilation. For some women, this starts weeks before labor begins, and others only experience it a couple of hours before birth. The day before labor, usually you’d be 2-3 cm dilated. If your doctor confirms this, then there is a good chance that labor is about 24-48 hours away.

3. Change in vaginal discharge

Usually, vaginal discharge is white but if you’re in your ninth month of pregnancy, it can be of a different color and may also change in texture and consistency.

It’s normal to have pinkish or slightly blood tinged discharge. You may also notice the loss of your mucus plug (which is what protects the cervical opening). Once this happens, you can safely assume that labor is a few days away.

4. Water breaks

The fluid-filled amniotic sac usually breaks after you start having contractions, however, it can also happen before contractions start in some cases.

‘How do I know if my water broke?’ It’s different for everyone. It may feel like something is leaking, a sudden ‘pop’ or an all-out splash of water. If you’re unsure, it’s important to stay calm, speak to your physician or mid-wife and follow their guidance.

5. Contractions

The sure-shot way of predicting the timing of labor is contractions. When real labor starts, contractions become progressively closer, last longer, and are more intense. One way to know if the contractions are real is that any movement or exercise won’t relieve the contractions.

Remember, when the contractions are regular and strong, and are 4-5 minutes apart, it’s important to call your midwife or doctor. These are some of the signs that help you in ascertaining if you’re about to go into labor. In addition to this, our doctors are available online to help you understand labor signs and answer any other possible questions you may have.

Meet our doctors and physician specialists:

“With a lot of contradicting information available online, I believe it is important for women to have direct access to physicians who can listen to their pregnancy-related concerns and provide sound medical advice.”

— Dr. Cheema, Chief Medical Officer at Your Doctors Online

“Sometimes figuring out the signs of labor isn’t simple. Our doctors are available 24/7 to help you understand how your pregnancy is progressing, if you’re going into labor, and when is the right time to visit the ER.”

— Dr. Hassan, OBGYN at Your Doctors Online

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