A word of warning: Because drugs of any kind can negatively affect your chances of conception and the health of your baby, check with your doctor before taking any form of medication, OTC, or prescription.
If you see a woman in the check-out line with an ovulation predictor kit and a bottle of cough syrup, you can safely assume that she isn't fighting the flu while attempting to procreate—she's actually hoping that Robitussin will make her more fertile.
"For a long time Robitussin was used by physicians and women alike to improve cervical mucus," says Deborah Metzger, MD, PhD, coauthor of Stay Fertile Longer. The theory goes like this: guaifenesin, the chemical in Robitussin and many other cough syrups, not only thins the mucus in your lungs but will also thin the mucus in your cervix, thus creating a slippery, healthy path for sperm to swim unhindered to the awaiting egg. In fact, doctors who prescribe Clomid to fertility patients often prescribe guaifenesin at the same time because Clomid can cause thicker "hostile mucus" in some patients. However, Dr. Metzger adds that the Robitussin trick is based on a 25-year-old medical experiment, so there's not much current scientific evidence to back it up. On the other hand, she notes that it's not really harmful to try as long as you make sure the cough medicine doesn't contain antihistamines, which can dry up cervical mucus, dextromethorphan, which has been linked to birth defects, or other drugs like alcohol.
It's true: cooler temperatures can raise a man's sperm count. For years, wannabe dads have been urged to wear boxers and avoid hot tubs, while some men rub an ice cube around their testicles for a few minutes before intercourse or spend a few minutes a day sitting on an ice pack for a couple of weeks before their partners ovulate.
Too cold for comfort? Keep in mind that it takes a minimum of two months for sperm counts to rise in response to cooler temperatures—and a 1997 study conducted at Los Angeles Medical Center discovered no difference between the sperm counts of men wearing close-fitting underwear and those who favored boxers.
Bottom line: If you want to hedge your bets, go for the boxers—but you may want to bypass the ice!
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