How Long After Diarrhea Does Labor Start (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 24 to 48 hours

The usual gestational period for pregnancy can extend up to 40 weeks. However, when labor starts approaching, there are several early signs that women experience before going into active labor. These signs are often listed to them prior to the arrival of the expected delivery date in order to prepare them for the possibility of labor before the stated date.

Diarrhea is one of the most common signs of labor. This is known as pre-labor diarrhea and is extremely frequent in women approaching their due dates. Thus, they are often asked to treat it like a sign of labor being just around the corner. This is the case especially if diarrhea is accompanied by the other signs that indicate that labor is approaching.

How Long After Diarrhea Does Labor Start

How Long After Diarrhea Does Labor Start?

Doctors assist pregnant women in identifying and understanding the signs of early labor. Pregnant women approaching their due date are often asked to remain extra vigilant about these signs so that they can seek medical assistance as soon as the signs appear.

Diarrhea is cited as an important and widely common early sign of labor approaching. When diarrhea begins in a pregnant woman close to her due date, the process of labor starts within the next 24 hours.

In some cases, active labor may take longer to set in after the woman experiences diarrhea. However, it is a given that the individual will move into active labor with 48 hours of initially experiencing the sign. Thus, on average, the time frame for labor after diarrhea is set to a day or two.

However, it is equally important to cognize that diarrhea alone is not symptomatic of the upcoming labor process. There are several other tell-tale signs that doctors acquaint their patients with. These early signs of labor include menstrual cramp-like pain in the lower abdomen of the pregnant woman, back pain, Braxton Hick or more commonly known as ‘false labor’, nausea, loss of the mucous plug, etc.

Only when diarrhea is experienced with one or multiple of these other signs can one say for certain that it is symptomatic of labor. In extremely rare instances a woman experiences only diarrhea as a sign of labor. It is coupled with the other signs that indicate that the body is preparing for the delivery of the baby.

In Summary:

Early Sign of Labor  Time Taken to Initiate Active Labor
Diarrhea24 to 48 hours after the sign

Why Does Labor Start So Long After Diarrhea?

A pregnant woman’s body undergoes several changes when it starts preparing for labor and the subsequent birth of the child. This includes both bodily changes as well as hormonal alterations. The reasons for displaying the various early signs of labor- including diarrhea- are related to these modifications experienced by the woman’s body.

Several hormones are released prior to the beginning of active labor that causes the muscles in the woman’s uterus, cervix as well as rectum to loosen. The secretion is known as prostaglandins and it aids in dilating the uterus to give birth to the baby. This is primary helps make the delivery smooth and easy. However, a side effect of this hormonal change leads to the woman experiencing pre-labor diarrhea.  

Some doctors also believe that pre-labor diarrhea is nature’s way of emptying the body before the arrival of the baby. It essentially helps in creating the room needed to deliver the baby.

When a pregnant woman starts experiencing any of the listed signs of early labor, it is important that she remain calm and notify people for medical assistance. Relaxing when you know labor will likely start soon is equally important as it helps give your muscles time to soothe before they engage in initiating the long and hard process of delivering a child.

Labor is known as a rolling boulder, once the boulder starts rolling there is no holding it back. This implies that the woman in question will go into active labor soon after she experiences diarrhea and has only a small window of time to seek assistance.


When a pregnant woman starts inching closer to her predicted due date, her body experiences several changes. This causes it to emit certain signs and signals that indicate that the process of labor will soon begin and the baby will have to be delivered.

Pre-labor diarrhea is one of the most well-known signs of fast-approaching labor. After diarrhea begins in the pregnant woman, usually, active labor is initiated within merely 24 to 48 hours. However, when experiencing diarrhea as an isolated sign, it may not always signal the commencement of the labor process. When it is accompanied by the other signs, labor within 24 hours is inevitable.


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