Ask your doctor for a referral if you have any concerns about your baby’s haemangioma.

What is it?

Often called a strawberry birthmark, a haemangioma is a red birthmark that can be flat or raised. It is often not there at birth but starts a few weeks later and grows over a few months. They are blue, red or purple and can be many different shapes and sizes.

What causes it?

Haemangiomas are a tumour of blood vessels that have not grown normally in the skin. They can be just on the skin or occasionally also extend deeper in the body. The growth usually stops after a few months, and many slowly get better by themselves over a few years. In rare cases, they need treatment because they are growing quickly, have become very large or are causing a medical problem if located on the eye, nose or mouth.

What are the symptoms?

A red patch or lump of various size / shape, that can occur anywhere on the body. They are not painful and only a problem if very large or causing a medical issue. Very rarely they can be associated with other internal conditions.

What are the treatment options?

Many haemangiomas do not need any treatment as they are not causing the child any problems and will go away spontaneously over several years. Your doctor will refer you to a dermatologist if the haemangioma is very large or in an important location like the eyelid, nose, lip or genital skin. Haemangiomas can be treated with a medicine called propranolol that will help to switch off the growth phase. Sometimes, laser or surgery are needed years later if a large haemangioma did not go away completely.

What to expect at your appointment

You will be asked questions about the haemangioma and if it has been changing at all. You will also be asked questions about your pregnancy and your baby’s health and development. The skin will be examined carefully for the features of haemangiomas and any other associations. Usually, no investigations are needed. In rare cases, an ultrasound scan may be requested.


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