Stork bites in newborns? Nope. Neither do storks cause them, nor are they bitemarks! However, you may have noticed your neonate sporting this birthmark as you see your bundle of joy for the first time. And yup, after seeing it, you may have a lot of questions. So, let’s delve in and see what stork bites are all about!
Birthmark types: Stork Bites, Angel Kisses, and Salmon Patch?
Stork bites have loads of names. Also known as an angel kiss, a strawberry mark, or a salmon patch. All these are common names for a nevus simplex. A birthmark is present in up to 30-50% of newborn babies.
A birthmark is a colored patch of skin that appears at birth or sometimes within the first month of life. They range from flat patches to small, raised bumps. And can appear anywhere on the body.
A nevus is also a birthmark. It is a benign lesion and hence not harmful. Nevi or stork bites appear anywhere on the baby’s body, from the forehead, upper lip, eyelids, and nose to the back of the neck and even on the arms and legs.
Stork bites have a very characteristic flat and pink look. Hence the term ‘salmon patch.’
What Causes Stork Bite Birthmarks in Newborns?
Contrary to the fable, storks do not cause stork bites in newborns. Though you may have often come across a picture of a stork carrying a cute baby!
Seeing that pink patch on the otherwise clear and soft newborn skin sets you in a frenzy. You may be blaming yourself for something that happened to you in pregnancy. Something unhealthy you ate during those nine months. Or maybe some trauma you or the baby had during labor.
But rest assured, none of these cause stork bites in newborns. Not even storks themselves! 🙂
The Real Reason Behind Stork Bites in Newborns
So, what causes stork bites in newborns, then? Yup, they can be inherited, but the exact cause is often unknown.
Stork bites in newborns or nevi are caused by the stretching or dilating blood vessels underneath the skin. They are the most common vascular malformation in infants. As they affect approximately 30-50% of newborns.
Changing Color of Stork Bites?
You may have seen the stork bite on your baby change color. This happens when your baby is crying or often when the temperature changes. This is because that birthmark is a vascular deformity.
Hence when your baby is crying or upset and exerting pressure, the blood flow in those stretched vessels changes. The same is when the temperature outside becomes hotter or colder than before.
This change in blood flow causes a temporary color change. Even applying pressure on it would cause the color to fade. But it goes back to normal. Hence, no need to worry!
Are Stork Bites Permanent?
A stork bite in newborns isn’t the best of birthmarks for appearance. Especially when it is large and appears as an unsightly patch on the face.
Though it is not harmful, you do have concerns as a parent. So, you may be asking yourself, “Is the stork bite in newborns temporary, or will it stay forever?” Which are rightly justified?
Stork bites or nevi are temporary in most cases. And often disappear as your child grows older. In around 90-95% of cases, the marks fade away and become lighter with age.
However, a nevus on the back of the neck may still persist despite your child entering his teens or adulthood. But as it gets covered by hair, it doesn’t cause any problems.
Stork Bites and Treatment?
Stork bites in newborns often don’t need treatment. They disappear by the time your baby turns 1 or 2 years of age.
These birthmarks are benign lesions. Hence they do not need any medical intervention. Especially when your child is too young for them to bother their overall appearance.
But when your child is old enough to appreciate these birthmarks, they may ask for some treatment options. Especially when the birthmarks appear on the face or otherwise are pretty evident and prominent in size. And are affecting the overall cosmetic appearance. Medical birthmark removal can be carried out by skin clinic professionals. For example, you may search for birthmark laser removal services to do this for you, but first and foremost, seek professional advice on your specific case.
Diagnostic Tests for Stork Bites?
Diagnostic tests help doctors in deciding what disease a patient has. However, with nevus simplex, no test is required. The doctor figures out the condition based on the appearance of the mark. Often it is an incidental finding during a routine physical exam.
Is Laser Birthmark Removal an Option?
A laser is an effective treatment option for stork bites. To reduce the appearance and decrease the size of the mark.
However, you may want to wait until your child is old enough. To wait for the birthmark to disappear naturally. And to see if this pigmented patch does become troublesome for your child.
Laser therapy targets the blood vessels underneath the skin. Though it really works, you may need more than one session for the final result!
Stork Bites in Newborn – When to See Your Doctor?
Stork bites in newborns are one of the many birthmarks babies can develop. And they often disappear with age without causing harm.
Sometimes, however, that red or otherwise pigmented birthmark can be alarming. And you may want to check in with your pediatrician to cater to those concerns. Your doctor may also want to rule out any malignant skin disorder.
Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you notice these warning signs:
- If the stork bite appears after birth, that is after you have taken your baby from the hospital.
- birthmark becomes itchy
- birthmark is painful
- birthmark rapidly increases in size
- birthmark starts to bleed
Stork Bites and Take-Home Messages?
Stork bites, angel kisses, salmon patches, strawberry marks – or just a nevus. Call it whatever you want. But stork bites in newborns are relatively harmless birthmarks. This is why you may want to sit back and relax!