Are diet pills safe while trying to conceive?
While the most dangerous ingredient in diet pills (ephedra) has been banned by the FDA, it's probably safest again to act as if you were pregnant while trying to conceive. There is not a lot of research on the effect of diet pills and conception or the outcome of any conception, because of the ethics of studying humans this way. The early weeks of pregnancy, before you even know that you are pregnant, are crucial to normal fetal development.
While actively trying to conceive, eat a healthy diet, the same as you would eat if you were pregnant. Sometimes, in fact, simply eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables will help you lose weight. If losing weight is a priority for you, make a commitment to getting the pounds off before trying to conceive. And if you are significantly overweight, that's a good plan, as being as close to an ideal weight for you will remove some obstacles to conception.
Overweight women may have a steady flow of estrogen mucking up the works, resulting in abnormal and persistent vaginal bleeding, called dysfunctional uterine bleeding. These women have trouble ovulating and therefore don't routinely enter the second half of their cycles. The period that follows a second half doesn't occur, until the lining of the womb gives up and sheds irregularly.
What are the recommendations for taking herbal supplements to encourage conception?
It depends whom you ask. Practitioners of holistic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—a system of medicine that treats the whole person and not just the illness—use herbs frequently with much self-reported success, but the use of herbs to enhance fertility is controversial according to Western medicinal standards.
For example, Dr. Gerald DiLeo says, "All of these products, till proven otherwise, are most beneficial in putting money into the pockets of those who sell them. Your best chances of conception are age (the younger the better), being disease-free (get checked for the tube-blocking infections, chlamydia, and gonorrhea), and regular cycles (regular periods mean regular ovulations). No product can address all, or even any of these factors."
So while BabyZone has published a list of herbs traditionally used for reproductive issues, we would err on the side of caution and advise consulting your personal health care provider, whether TCM or HMO.