What they are:
Hot and cold packs are small containers that provide either heat or cold for use in dulling the sensations of pain and discomfort. They come in a variety of styles and shapes. Hospitals generally have chemical hot and cold packs that can be activated and used for about 1/2 an hour.
You could also use a hot water bottle, ice wrapped in a towel, a washcloth dipped in hot water or many other ways to bring warmth or cold to a part of the mother’s body.
How they work:
Hot and cold packs work in different ways to achieve the same result. Hot packs increase the blood flow to an area, while ice packs decrease the blood flow. Either way, the effect is to reduce the sensations of pain.
How to use them:
Hold the pack on the part of the body where the mother feels discomfort.
Integrating them into labor:
Place a hot pack at the base of the mother’s belly to help minimize cramping.
Use a cold pack on the mother’s back to help relieve back pain.
A hot pack placed on the back of the mother’s neck can help to keep her relaxed.