Metalsmithing involves working with ALOT of different chemicals; sulphuric acid, liver of sulphate, actopol B6, to name just a few along with a lot of metal and polishing compound dust in the workshop environment. Naturally when I found out I was expecting I wanted to ensure I was taking all the necessary precautions to ensure my little passenger wasn't at risk of growing an extra set of limbs or a tail etc but found really limited information on this subject.
I'll quickly pop in a disclaimer now! The information in this post is information I have gathered from looking through countless searches, always consult a medical professional regarding this sort of thing and do your own research too (and yes whilst I am also a medical professional it's not in this area!).
From doing my research here are my top tips for safety in the metalsmith workshop when you are expecting...
No Eating or Drinking! This isn't entirely accurate - it is important you do eat and drink at work just don't do it at the workbench - think of all the metal dust that could be flying into your tea and biscuits. Always wash your hands before stopping for lunch and don't keep glasses of drink on your workbench - hydration is important so by all means keep a lidded drinks bottle to hand but make sure the lid is on so your water isn't getting contaminated with whatever is flying around your desk.
Use Protection. When polishing or sanding lots of tiny particles are being kicked up into the air, keep those lungs in good shape by popping on a decent mask - research I read recommends a mask with filters that can be cleaned and changed. Also when using your polishing wheel or flexishaft a mask is advisable for obvious reasons, along with tying your hair back if its long. Wear gloves when sifting through your tumbler.
Read Your COSHH. That's Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (or if you are in the U.S. its MSDS; Material Safety Data Sheets). Whenever you purchase substances that could be hazardous they will come with a COSHH sheet explaining best practice use of them and any associated health warnings. Make sure you read these and keep them filed for future reference, if you accidentally threw yours away many websites will have online copies for reference.
Good Ventilation. Make sure your workshop has good ventilation to maintain good air quality and reduce the risk of you inhaling harmful chemicals and then absorbing them into your bloodstream. If you are in a workshop with poor ventilation you make want to consider an decent extractor fan or dust hood.
Posture. I know this isn't a harmful substance but whilst we are on the subject of health and safety the nurse in me just had to bring up back care! Invest in a good seat - if you are pregnant your back is going through a lot with that little human adding to its workload and if you aren't pregnant it is still important to look after your back - we only get one! (At the moment - i'm sure eventually if the NHS is still around back replacements will be possible)
First Aid Kit. Always be prepared for a worst case scenario, make sure you have a decent first aid kit on hand for any cuts, accidental ingestions or other incidents. Ensure it has an eye bath and acid neutralising substances such as sodium bicarb for your pickle incase of skin contact or spillages.
Basically all of the above points count as universal precautions, none of this is rocket science. Universal Precautions is actually a term I learned in nursing which basically relates to using a baseline set of precautions with anything where any kind of bodily fluid may be involved for the sake of infection control. In this case swap to bodily fluids for workshop chemicals and infection control for reducing the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals!
As you may have gathered from these tips they are basic health and safety tips, you should be following these regardless of whether you are expecting or not. Heres to happy (and safe) metalsmithing!! (Have I missed anything out? As I mentioned in my disclaimer I am not an expert in health and safety so please let me know if I have!)