Oct. 3, 2022

The Ice Cube Exercise

The Ice Cube Exercise

Have you ever heard of the ice cube exercise? It helps prepare you for labor by training you to focus your mind during contractions. 

If you are planning a natural birth, you should definitely try it. If you're planning on some form of pain relief, you should still try it. It's always a good idea to labor at home for a while to avoid any unnecessary interventions. 

Prepare an ice cube and a timer. Set the timer for one minute. This is your goal to work up to. Contractions, when at their strongest, last for a minute. 

You want to train yourself to withstand the ice cube for one minute, so that when labor comes, you are able to maintain your focus through the contractions, one at a time. 

Try this exercise first: 

  • Hold the ice cube in your hand
  • Start the timer
  • Focus on how cold it is, how your hand hurts when holding it
  • When you can't take it anymore, put the ice cube down and stop the timer
  • Write down how long you held the ice for

Take a break. Come back with a new ice cube. 

This time, find something that's calming for you to think about. Maybe it's the beach, relaxing in a bath, or a special song. Or, focus just on your breathing. That is what I do. I really focus on my breathing: breathing in for a count of 4, and out for a count of 8, and actually noticing the moment where my in breath turns to an out breath. 

Now, try it again: 

  • Hold the ice cube in your hand
  • Start the timer
  • Think about your calming scene- REALLY focus on it
  • If your mind starts to wander, come back to your calming scene
  • When you can't focus anymore, OR the timer goes off, put the ice down 
  • Write down how long you held the ice for

*Note the difference in the time when you were focused on how cold the ice was, and the time when you were focused on something else. 

Do this exercise as often as you feel you need it to help you. I recommend every day.

You will train your mind to not notice the discomfort, and when the discomfort turns to pain, you will train your mind to focus on something else. And before you know it, the minute is up, and you’ve made it through another contraction.

It might seem silly, but it works. And it works because you keep practicing.

If you go into labor thinking that you’ll just do it at that time, it’s already too late. Your mind needs to be trained to stay calm when you feel pain, your body needs to be trained to relax instead of tense up.

Try it every day for a week, and see how much easier it gets every time. And then shoot me an email and let me know how you did, and what you focused on!

Laborlessons@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.