If you’re on TikTok a lot (and aren’t we all?), there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled on a video with the hashtag #MucinexDPregnancy. Essentially, these videos claim that taking the medication, which is commonly used for cold, flu, and sinus symptoms, can help boost a person’s odds of getting pregnant.
But before you try this hack at home, let’s fact-check this one. Because in case you haven’t heard, not every piece of health-related information on the internet is grounded in truth.
So, does Mucinex help you get pregnant?
In one viral video, a creator begins by talking about her experience with Covid — she started taking Mucinex to control her symptoms…but she noticed something else. The creator was tracking fertile signs, and claims they went “way up” after she started taking the medication. According to the creator, her doctor actually shared that she gives Mucinex to patients to increase their fertility.
Some creators claim Mucinex can help thin out cervical mucus, which they believe can help sperm motility issues when trying to conceive.
But while the hack has taken off like wildfire, we have to take a deeper look here.
Is there any validity to this Mucinex TikTok trend?
According to Allison Rodgers, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and medical advisor at Flo, there’s no scientific evidence to back up these claims — yet.
“While some anecdotal reports claim that cough medicine Mucinex supposedly increases fertility by ‘keeping the cervical mucus thin around the time of ovulation,’ no reliable studies are confirming its consumption improves your chances of conceiving,” says Dr. Rodgers. “These claims are not based on science. While it is true that your cervical mucus needs to change to be like egg whites during the fertilization process, which happens from high estrogen levels, there’s no proven evidence that Mucinex, which is meant to help the mucus in your respiratory system, will have the same effect on your cervix mucus.”
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It’s not impossible, but the science doesn’t quite add up.
“While anything is possible, it is estrogen from a developing and maturing egg that thins the mucus and creates a uterine lining that is able to have an embryo implant,” says Dr. Rodgers. “It's not all about thin mucus. There also isn’t any data showing that Mucinex actually thins cervical mucus like it would mucus in your nose.“
So while anecdotally, you may hear people who think they’ve had luck getting pregnant because of Mucinex, you may be better off implementing science-backed lifestyle changes or seeing a reproductive endocrinologist if you’re trying to conceive.
But if you’re still tempted to try Mucinex, here’s what you need to know.
Are there any risks involved in taking cough syrup for fertility?
Taking Mucinex is relatively low-risk, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally without side effects.
“Even though taking cough medicine like Mucinex while trying to conceive won’t probably hurt you, and most people tolerate it fine, there are side effects to keep in mind, including headache, rash, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and hives. It can also cause you to feel dizzy and lightheaded,” says Dr. Rodgers.
If you’ve just started trying to conceive or are not ready to consult with a reproductive endocrinologist, there are some expert-approved tips you can try at home instead.
What else can you do to boost fertility?
First up, reduce consumption of things like alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and caffeine — according to Dr. Rodgers, there’s scientific evidence to indicate their negative effect on reproductive health.
Reducing stress is obviously easier said than done, but it could pay off — so anything that helps you relax is probably a good idea (a weekend reality TV marathon, anyone?). Nutritional changes may also help. And of course, learning more about your cycles by tracking ovulation can help you pinpoint your fertile window.
When it comes to social media, take content that relates to reproductive health with a grain of salt.
TikTok is full of so much good content, from recipes to fashion inspiration. But it’s really important to remember that what you see on TikTok and other social platforms doesn’t always hold up scientifically, especially when it comes to health information.
There’s still value in finding community via these apps — for example, creators who candidly share their fertility stories can create a sort of community and make others feel like they’re not alone. But the world of women’s health and reproductive health has been shrouded in mystery and misinformation for far too long, and it’s so important that we cut through some of the noise out there. It may be leading people down roads that won’t lead anywhere.
If you’re struggling to conceive or have concerns about your fertility, check in with your doctor or book an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. While trying this Mucinex hack is unlikely to harm you in a serious way, it also isn’t a tried-and-proven-true method for increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.