Getting pregnant isn’t easy for every woman. While some women can get pregnant the day they discontinue their contraception, some will try for years without success. Since pregnancy takes so much planning, it’s no wonder that many women will go to great lengths to become boost their chances. Once you and your partner have finally made the decision to become parents, you won’t want to wait a day longer. There are medical treatments and surgical procedures you can receive if you’re having trouble with fertility, but many are expensive and time consuming. One at-home fertility treatment that many women try is drinking cough syrup prior to conception.

It sounds strange at first, but it actually makes sense when you think about it more. Many cough syrups contain a liquefying agent called guaifenesin. When it is an active ingredient, it works to break up mucus in the lungs and throat by loosening it up. In the same way, it helps your body create more cervical mucus so that sperm is transported more easily to the eggs.

As you might imagine, there are a few things you should consider before chugging cough syrup while trying to conceive. First, always check with your doctor before trying any new medication to make sure it’s safe. Next, check the list of ingredients on any cough syrup you buy for conception. If guaifenesin isn’t the active ingredient, the medication is probably designed to actually dry up all of the mucus in the body, so you’ll be taking unnecessary medications to achieve the opposite of your desired results. And of course, never take more than the recommended amount of any medication, whether its over the counter or prescription. Many women feel the need to “chug” cough syrup when trying to conceive.

Though it’s hard to believe, cough syrup might actually help you conceive by increasing the production of cervical mucus in your body. However, for it to be fully effective, you should only be drinking it near your time of ovulation, and you shouldn’t be drinking too much. As with any at-home fertility trick it’s difficult to determine whether or not pregnancy afterwards was a coincidence or an actual result of the technique, but studies do show that guaifenesin does actually assist in pregnancy by helping sperm find their way up into the uterus. Assuming you get the go-ahead from your doctor, it can’t hurt to try.

Source: Gary Means et al: Guaifenesin and Increased Sperm Motility. International Journal of General Medicine Volume 4 pp. 13-14 2011