Twins and Hemangiomas

For unknown reasons, twins are more likely than singletons to develop hemangiomas, also known as strawberry birthmarks. Somewhere between 4–10 percent of all infants will develop a hemangioma after birth, particularly if they are Caucasian, female, a twin, born to an older mother, or a preemie. Hemangiomas are created by an abnormal cluster of blood vessels under the skin. They’re often found on the neck or head, but can occur anywhere. Some children develop just one; others get a multitude.

One of my twins developed a small hemangioma on the top of his head within a few weeks after birth. Like many, it showed up as a small red spot within a few weeks of birth, and grew larger. My son’s birthmark stopped growing when it reached the size of a pencil eraser, but many can grow much larger. Once my son’s hair grew in, the birthmark wasn’t noticeable, but for other children, they can be quite visible, especially on the face. Most hemangiomas will grow for a few weeks or months, and then start to flatten out and go away over the next five to ten years.

Parents should always have a child’s birthmark evaluated by a specialist. In many cases, they are nothing to worry about, but it’s best to rule out any possible complications. I took my son to a pediatric dermatologist who specialized in hemangiomas. Oftentimes, the doctor will advise parents to leave the birthmark alone and let it go away on its own. But treatment with steroids, lasers or surgery may be recommended for more severe cases.

[Information obtained from “About Face” by Emily Lapkin, in Parents magazine, July 2007, pp. 44-50.]

Related posts:

About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.