Risk factors for Developing Birthmarks

While birthmarks appear unpredictably, there are certain factors that can increase the chances of them developing. These possibilities do not absolutely mean that birthmarks will develop or that the birthmark will be permanent. They are merely factors that increase the risk of developing birthmarks.

Light Colored Skin

While dark skin tones are not immune to birthmarks, light skin tones are more susceptible to developing birthmarks. Parents with light skin tones and with family members with lighter skin tones should be aware that their baby has increased percentages of also having lighter skin. As such, trauma or other damage occurring during birth may leave a mark.


The treatable condition of jaundice increases the risks of developing birthmarks. Because the skin is already affected by a condition, it is less capable of protecting itself against any injury. The difficult thing about a jaundiced baby is that sometimes birthmarks will not immediately appear because they will be covered by the altered skin tone. Therefore, it might be difficult to determine if a jaundiced baby has a birthmark until the jaundice has cleared.

Medical Conditions Present at Birth

Medical conditions that weaken a baby’s immune system make it more likely for birthmarks to develop. To protect itself in its weakened state, the baby’s body will divert nutrients and other fluids to the condition needing the most attention. A bruise or other mark falls quite low on the list of a body’s immediate concerns. As such, these babies are at a higher risk of developing birthmarks.

Traumatic Birth

A birth in which an emergency caesarean section is needed because the baby is not sitting in the proper position for delivery, the mother is injured, or because the lives of either mother or baby are in danger increases the risk for birthmarks. This is purely because both bodies are in danger and there is a higher risk for accidents to occur during the emergency.

Prolonged Birth

A birth that takes a very long time, such as several days or more, may increase the chances for a birthmark to develop. Longer births leave a larger timeframe for the baby to become injured, and also leave the baby in the birth canal longer. As the birth canal is not particularly spacious, the baby’s body will have no room to move, making it likely that a portion of his skin will be lacking oxygen or be bruised and a birthmark will develop.

Ingestion of Untested Medications

A mother that ingests relatively new medications or medications that are not approved to be taken while pregnant puts her baby at a risk for birthmarks. Birthmarks are a body’s response to some sort of trauma received while developing or during delivery. Medications that are untested may put a baby’s skin and healing capabilities at risk, thereby making an infant unable to avoid a birthmark.

Genetic Factors

While genetic factors mean almost nothing in the risks of developing a birthmark, severe birthmarks on one or more of the parents may contribute to a baby’s birthmarks. Certain birthmarks are due to skin sensitivities and other disorders that may or may not be genetic. If genetic, these conditions may put a baby at a higher risk of developing birthmarks.

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