Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | The pregnancy police are watching you

New federal guidelines issued this year ask any woman capable of conceiving to treat themselves – and to be treated by their health-care provider – as “pre-pregnant” at all times. Women between their first menstrual period and the menopause are told to take folic acid supplements, stop smoking, stop drinking regularly, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control; not primarily for their own health but to protect any baby that they may or may not be planning to have.

What am I? A baby farm?

As it happens, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink a lot, I don’t take drugs, I do take folic acid (amongst other supplements) and I don’t have any chronic health problems – but the idea that I might be required to “look after myself” because I am capable of conception is, quite frankly, scary.