Can Birthmarks be Prevented?

Birthmarks can appear anywhere and at any time prior to or after birth. Whether or not they are preventable depends on the baby’s skin and the method of delivery. Below is an explanation of whether birthmarks are preventable and, if so, how.

The Short Answer: No

Birthmarks are unpredictable. What might create a birthmark in one baby may not cause any effect in another baby. Because of this, it is many times impossible to avoid creating a birthmark. Each baby responds to what affects it during birth differently. Birthmarks are not genetic.

Additionally, the events during birth and the type of birth, caesarean or vaginal, affect whether a birthmark will develop. If a birth is particularly traumatic or the baby is stuck in the birth canal for a long period of time, there is often little that can be done to avoid a birthmark. A birth that is easy, however, does not necessarily mean that your baby will be born without a birthmark. Sometimes, birthmarks develop in the womb, for a variety of reasons that doctors may never determine.

The Exception: Yes

Some birthmarks are avoidable, particularly those that occur because of instruments used during delivery. It is possible for a baby born by caesarean section to be nicked by a knife or bruised during delivery. These traumas may be permanent and result in a birthmark and are usually avoidable by the surgeon taking extreme care during the surgery.

In a vaginal delivery, forceps and other equipment may also cause a birthmark. Not using these instruments or using them safely will enhance the chances that an infant will be born without markings.

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