Most birthmarks are harmless little “stork bites” that make your baby unique. A small percentage, however, can be symptoms of greater medical issues or potential health risks. If you’re worried about your baby’s birthmark, here are just a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate them.
According to Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, there are many different types of birthmarks and each of them have their own appearances, causes and risk factors. You can learn a lot about your baby’s birthmark by simply doing the research on other babies with marks like theirs. Maybe it’s a harmless “angel kiss” on their cheek, but maybe it’s a “port wine stain” on their leg that will thicken and cause discomfort over time. You won’t know until you do your homework on birthmarks.
Most birthmarks are a mix of red, purple and brown, but it’s not uncommon for them to have bluish and grayish tints as well. This range is entirely normal and nothing to fear. Don’t be alarmed by minor color changes, either, especially after your baby has been out and about in the world. Sun exposure can darken birthmarks, and cold temperatures can bring out the nuances of colorful birthmarks on thin newborn skin. Generally speaking, you only need to worry about a birthmark’s color if it’s part of a longer list of abnormal symptoms.
Touch your baby’s birthmark. If it feels just like the surrounding skin, it’s probably a harmless discoloration. If it’s textured, it might be something worth taking to a doctor anpit. A “hairy nevus” can turn malignant over time, and a raised hemangioma can actually grow along with your child and become a disfigurement. Pay particular attention to any birthmark that makes your baby cry or squirm in discomfort when you apply pressure.
When it comes to birthmarks, some locations are more dangerous than others. For example, birthmarks near the eye can affect vision. Birthmarks around the spine might be indications of poor blood flow around the spinal cord. There are also certain birthmark patterns associated with genetic and autoimmune disorders. If you notice six or more tan spots “clumped” on one area of your child’s skin, ask your doctor about neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1).
At the end of the day, most birthmarks are nothing to worry about. However, if you suspect that there’s something more going on with your baby’s skin than a simple mark or mole, go ahead and take them to a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.