Parents may notice small blotches or spots on their newborn’s skin. Often, small pimples or spots are temporary, and fade within the first few weeks or months of life. On the other hand, there are spots, called birthmarks, that may appear in the first days or weeks after birth. These marks can be very small or may become large and noticeable. In any event, noticing a birthmark can be upsetting.
There is no way to avoid the development of a birthmark. These spots are not “stains” brought on by anything abnormal occurring during pregnancy, nor from foods eaten during this time. Typically not associated with trauma during the birth process, there is really no known cause of birthmarks, which commonly fall into one of two categories – vascular or pigmented.
This common form of birthmark is linked to the malformation of blood vessels, being that they are numerous or wider than normal. Vascular birthmarks include hemangiomas, macular stains, and port-wine stains.
Hemangiomas are sometimes called “strawberry marks,” may develop either on the skin’s surface, or below. A hemangioma may not become visible for several days or weeks, and may appear bright red and slightly raised. Hemangiomas that are deeper beneath the skin may appear a bluish tint due to the types of blood vessels involved. This type of birthmark can grow quickly in the first six months of life. However, it is common to see a hemangioma shrink back or even disappear by the age of ten. Commonly found on the head and neck, hemangiomas may require early treatment should they interfere with normal function such as breathing, feeding, or sight.