Updated on July 11th, 2021 // by Katie Griffin
One very useful, inexpensive tool to tuck away in your birth bag is a heated rice sock. Heat can encourage relaxation in your neck and shoulders or feel incredible on your lower back or hip flexors which can cramp during labor. I love these rice socks so much that I recommend that couples keep two on hand! Today we’re going to learn how to make a simple heated rick sock in just 3 easy steps:
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of contents
Gather Your Supplies
- 3 lb bag of rice (one 3lb bag for each heated rice sock)
- Long sock – Knee length socks are ideal for this project. I purchased this snazzy pair of socks at my local big box store for just under $3.
- Funnel – If you don’t have an actual funnel, no worries! I’m using a paper cup that I cut the bottom out of.
Pour in the Rice
Cut the corner off the bag of rice. Put the sock around your funnel and slowly pour in the rice. Shake the sock gently while you pour in the rice or else it will overflow. Leave a few inches at the top of the sock without rice to ensure that you have plenty of room to tie a sturdy knot.
Tie a knot
This step is pretty explanatory. Just tie yourself a good ole’ knot. And then voila! You’re finished!
How to Safely Heat Up the Rice Sock
Heat the rice sock in your microwave for 1 – 2.5 minutes on high. How long you heat it will depend entirely on the strength of your microwave and how warm you like your rice sock to be. Be sure not to burn yourself, and just let it cool off for a few minutes on the counter if you’ve overheated the rice. When heated in my microwave for 2 minutes, I typically get about 20 minutes of moist heat from a rice sock.
Ways to Use a Heated Rice Sock in Labor
- Drape over your neck and shoulders to add some warm counterpressure to encourage relaxation
- Place on your lower back to ease back pain in labor
- Tuck under your abdomen/uterus to ease the discomfort of contractions
- Place on your groin, hips, hip flexors or anywhere else that you’re feeling tension
Possible Heated Rice Sock Variations
The sky’s the limit when it comes to easy variations on the standard rice sock. You can replace rice with barley or dried beans. Some people don’t like the smell of the heated rice, but I’ve found that jasmine rice has very little odor. Maybe consider adding a small piece of fabric on which you’ve placed a few drops of your favorite essential oil. But remember that sometimes in labor, even once-pleasant scents can seem distasteful. If you think you might enjoy a bit of cold during labor, try sticking a rice sock in the freezer for a few days and let it function as a cold pack instead.
A heated rice sock is one simple tool that you can use to promote comfort during your natural childbirth. Your childbirth class will introduce you to other basic supplies that you can pack in your birth bag. Best of luck to you as you prepare for a confident birth!
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for natural childbirth in the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for natural childbirth.