TikTok Claims This Cold Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant. Is That True?

Doctors weigh in on the over-the-counter product some parents-to-be say finally helped them conceive.
The idea that Mucinex can help with pregnancy is going viral on TikTok.
d3sign via Getty Images
The idea that Mucinex can help with pregnancy is going viral on TikTok.

When you are trying to conceive, all you want is those two lines on a positive pregnancy test. It can be a long journey there, after many cycles and research and hoping and waiting. But, in classic TikTok fashion, some claim there’s a hack for that ― in the form of Mucinex, an over-the-counter cough and cold medication.

One pregnant mom posted about her success conceiving after taking Mucinex in 2023 following a two-year journey of trying; the video has gotten more than 415,000 views. Another TikTokker busted out a whiteboard calendar, explaining to viewers the art of timing up Mucinex with your optimal fertility window. “Love Is Blind” star Alexa Lemieux also recently said she got pregnant while taking the medicine after struggling to conceive.

But, of course, just because people on the internet swear by it doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. Here’s what experts want you to know:

Where Does The Mucinex Trend Come From?

In the fertility world, research is key, but it’s also hard to conduct — after all, did those trying to conceive in studies do so because it just happened to work that month? Or because an intervention, like Mucinex, was the reason?

The Mucinex trend dates back to a single study conducted over 40 years ago, in 1982, and published in the peer-reviewed journal Fertility and Sterility under the title “Improvement of Cervical Factor With Guaifenesin.” Researchers studied the active drug ingredient in Mucinex, which, in addition to affecting the mucus from a cold, is thought to also affect cervical mucus.

It is felt that women who may have hostile (thick) cervical mucus can use Mucinex, which will allow the cervical mucus to become thinner,” Dr. Rachel McConnell, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Columbia University Fertility Center in New York, told HuffPost.

McConnell said the study involved 40 couples who had experienced infertility for 10 months and who had testing indicating “hostile cervical mucus.” Each woman was given 200 milligrams of guaifenesin orally, three times per day, from day five of the menstrual cycle until her basal temperature began to rise. Of those couples, 23 women had “marked” improvement of cervical mucus quality, McConnell explained, and 15 of those 23 became pregnant (65%).

Mucinex thins the mucus in your nose, and it’s thought that it might do the same for mucus necessary for conception, added Dr. Shannon Scott Schellhammer, an OB-GYN at Orlando Health Women’s Institute in Florida.

Why Does Cervical Mucus Matter?

“When you ovulate, your body makes mucus that helps the egg and sperm to meet in one spot — but if the mucus is too thin or too thick, or not enough, it can prevent that ability from happening. The thought was maybe it will do the same thing for vaginal mucus to help propel the sperm and the egg to meet,” Scott Schellhammer explained.

Some people trying to conceive can check their own cervical mucus. “After your period, the cervical mucus should be a cream-like appearance. As the fertile window is entered, cervical mucus will increase and the consistency and colour become similar to egg whites,” McConnell said.

Scott Schellhammer noted that over-the-counter ovulation kits are available, but to really determine the mucus factors and ensure your fallopian tubes are open, you’ll likely need a fertility specialist.

There are a few factors to consider before trying this trending idea.
AlexanderFord via Getty Images
There are a few factors to consider before trying this trending idea.

So, Can Mucinex Help You Get Pregnant?

Like so many things in the complicated world of fertility, the answer again is a frustrating “maybe.” Mucinex is for coughs and colds ― it’s not marketed as a medicine for fertility.

“Unfortunately it is not proven in evidence in studies. It’s one of those that is a little bit harder to study, and we base all of our guidelines off of very strong evidence that comes out in medicine that works. This is one that it may work for somebody, but I can’t say for certain it’s going to — I don’t have the evidence to say in this percentage of people it’s going to help,” Scott Schellhammer said.

However, she said her father, also a physician, read a paper on the topic while her parents were struggling to conceive and came home insisting that her mother try Mucinex. Shortly thereafter, she conceived. “I’m a believer,” Scott Schellhammer said.

McConnell noted that patients must see a fertility doctor to determine if it might be beneficial for their specific body and concerns.

Mucinex may be useful for women who are known to have thick cervical mucus as the only cause of their infertility,” McConnell said.

If you plan to give the hack a try, check out McConnell’s advice rather than trusting Dr. TikTok:

  • Use Mucinex plain (with only guaifenesin), McConnell advised. “Similar expectorants would not be advised due to most containing other ingredients, such as dextromethorphan, which causes a drying effect.”
  • Use Mucinex about five days prior to expected ovulation and continue it only through the ovulation day.
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and eat healthy.
  • See a fertility doctor if you don’t notice clear watery cervical mucus mid-cycle.

As with any tip or trick, it’s a good time to decide whom to trust when it comes to fertility methods. Some people are of the mindset that if it won’t hurt anything, it’s worth a try.

This was true for Amy Klein, author of ”The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind.” Klein told HuffPost she went through four years, 10 doctors, nine rounds of in vitro fertilisation and four miscarriages before having her daughter.

“People will do almost anything when they’re trying to have a baby,” Klein said. But always check with your own physician first.