How Long Does Pre-Labor Last?

The last few weeks of pregnancy can be such an exciting time! Not only will you be busy preparing for your future child, but you’ll also be experiencing a whole lot of firsts, such as pre-labor. But while pre-labor is exciting, it isn’t such a walk in the park either. Most women wonder: “How long does pre-labor last?”

You might want to get the symptoms over with and move on to the next chapter of your life with your child! So instead of waiting and worrying about the pain, I talk about what you need to know about pre-labor and how long it lasts for.

What is Pre-Labor?

Even just a few weeks before your due date, you may experience contractions and other symptoms that make you feel like you’re going into labor.

But there’s no need to worry about an early birth, since this may just be pre-labor. This is one of the last stages of pregnancy, right before you go into labor and give birth to your baby.

Pre-labor has a lot of symptoms you may have, and these will last for a few weeks or days, depending on the woman and her baby. But to put it shortly, it’s just your body preparing for childbirth.

Here’s a video explaining exactly what pre-labor is and what to expect:

How Long Does Pre-Labor Last?

How long does pre-labor last anyway? There’s no exact date, as it all depends on the woman and how her body prepares for childbirth.

Usually, pre-labor would begin 37 to 42 weeks into the pregnancy. It would last right until you are ready to give birth, which can be at your 40th or 43rd week. So it would last for about a week to a month.

There’s no particular reason as to why pre-labor happens either, though studies show that the hormonal changes in the fetus can cause contractions.

You can’t indicate the exact date you’ll be giving birth (unless it’s caesarean), so just sit tight and try your best to find relaxing remedies for the symptoms you’ll experience.

Symptoms of Pre-Labor

What does one experience when going through pre-labor? Here are the symptoms you should expect:


The most usual types of pain one would experience would be on their back or their abdomen, similar to period pain. Sometimes the pain subsides (and come back again), but there are times it will stay. This pain means that the cervix is softening and getting ready for the baby to come out.

Mucus Plug or Bleeding

The mucus plug, which closes the cervix, may show and come out, sometimes making your water break. You’ll see the mucus plug as a blob or drips, at times even take the shape of a tampon.


Since the pain might get intense and the transition is difficult, women may begin vomiting and feeling nauseated.

Take note that you may or may not experience all these symptoms, so if the pain gets very intense or you begin severely bleeding, then it’s best to go to the hospital to avoid the risk of early childbirth.

How to Keep Yourself Comfortable

During Pre-LaborPre-labor is a painful experience, but here are ways to help yourself and keep healthy:

  • If you feel nauseated and vomit, make sure to keep drinking water and stay hydrated. Never forget to eat and drink water, since the lack of nutrients will be harmful to the baby.
  • Avoid fatigue, as this may stress your body into early childbirth. Stay well rested and get the right amount of sleep.
  • You can go on with your usual activities, but if the pain gets too intense, sit down and relax. Some doctors might suggest bed rest. Again, avoid feeling too tired and know when to stay in bed.
  • When feeling pain, use a heat pack or take a warm bath to relax. The heat will lessen the pain and soothe your body from the stress it goes through.


If you happen to be just a few weeks before giving birth, then that’s exciting! But before that, you’ll need to go through pre-labor and learn about what to expect before to stay prepared for the next phases.

I hope that this article answered your question “how long does pre-labor last?” Now, you’ll be able to know when you can expect the baby to arrive. While this time frame isn’t exact for all women, it’s best to have an estimate to find out when you should expect your baby to arrive into the world.

If you have any question or would like to share your pre-labor experiences, then comment down below! I would love to hear what you have to think.

Other Related Articles:

  1. How to Maintain Your Health during Pregnancy
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Sarah Palmer
Hi! I'm Sarah. My husband and I have a beautiful little girl; plus we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby #2, so this is a very exciting time for us. Throughout this amazing journey called Parenthood, I’ve learned so much and love sharing my experiences with other parents at I'd love to share my discoveries with you too!
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