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Hot & Cold Therapy

Heat and cold can help some women during labor. Heat can help the muscles relax, and both heat and cold can act as a nerve distractor because it provides a new sensation, which can reduce the perception of pain. Be careful to always check temperatures – anything that is too hot or too cold can cause burns or stress to the skin.

Heat

Options for applying heat include:

  • store-bought heating pads
  • gel packs that can be warmed in warm tap water
  • rice socks (long socks loosely packed with uncooked rice that are microwaved next to a cup of water for one to three minutes)
  • a washcloth warmed with warm water
  • taking a warm bath or shower

Cold 

Options for cold therapy include:

  • store-bought cold packs
  • ice in a plastic bag wrapped with a towel
  • a washcloth cooled with cold water

If you have additional questions about hot or cold therapy, talk with your health care provider.