Midwives in Fife are taking action to keep children out of poverty before they are even born.
All pregnant women and their families are being asked about money worries during appointments and referred to an advice service if necessary.
The very early intervention is aimed at addressing child poverty and its associated health implications.
Almost a fifth of children in Fife live in poverty, according to new figures.
Across Scotland, those living in deprived areas are more likely to suffer poor health and premature death than those in more affluent communities.
Fife’s director of public health, Dona Milne, said the approach in the region would be evaluated to determine if it was making a difference.
“Senior managers in NHS Fife midwifery services and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s Children’s Community Services are providing leadership… to ensure midwives and health visitors have the skills, knowledge, awareness and confidence to ask all pregnant women and families with young children about money worries,” she said.
Citizens Advice and Rights Fife has been running a financial health check service specifically for pregnant women and families with young children since the start of the year.
Ms Milne added: “According to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, child health in Scotland ranks among the worst in western Europe and the disparity between children living in the most and least affluent communities is unacceptably wide.”
She said the approach being taken by midwives was just one example of the work being done in Fife to address poverty among children.
Also being looked at are ways to increase school attendance and educational attainment, along with work to improve employment opportunities and provide good housing.
“It is evident from the examples of work…that when we harness our knowledge and resources we can make a real contribution to reducing inequality in Fife,” she said.
“These are challenging times for our communities and public and third sectors but we have strong universal services in Fife that we can build on to support families.
“At the heart of this work will be our partnerships with others and thinking about how we work with local communities to shape our public health effort in Fife.”