These are lovely during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum for aches and pains and sore muscles. They are simple to make, too, and you just throw them in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes (watch closely after 2 minutes so you don't bake the rice!) They'll stay warm for quite awhile.
I made a long, thin rice pack for draping around across your shoulders and a rectangle one for your lower back. For VBAC moms it may be nice on your incision site, mine was sore in my first VBAC labor and the heating pad helped. You can add some essential oils with the rice but if you're not sure of a scent that will be universally appealing to mothers in labor (is there a universally appealing scent??) then you can leave it plain. Though it does have a rice smell, be warned! That could also be unpleasant to sensitive noses. I made a cover for the rectangle rice pack & I have essential oils I can drop onto a cotton ball and tuck into the cover. We'll see how that works out!
It's super easy - I used a dark green flannel, wash it first then cut the size you want. Sew three sides together, turn right sides out, fill with a couple cups of rice (depending on the firmness you want) then tuck the fourth side in on itself and stitch closed. I can't explain the pillowcase cover very well but I'm sure there are great tutorials online! I did the cover as well so I can remove and wash it between uses.
It feels lovely and I can't wait to use it on a laboring mom!