Question: My baby was born with a red spot on her neck. My doctor called it a “Nevi Simplex” birth mark, and my grandmother called it a ‘stork bite’ and said that it would go away with time. Is this true?
Answer: Nevi Simplex, also referred to as “Salmon patches”, are birthmarks that show up as small reddened flat marks that occur in 30-50% of all babies. They are caused by a collection of blood vessels that stretch during fetal development, and sometimes they remain after birth.
Salmon patches will be reddish or dark pink and can usually be found on the eyelids, nose, forehead, neck, nose, or lips.
If the patch shows up on the baby’s eyelids, it’s called an ‘Angel’s Kiss’. The beautiful baby in the picture is my grand daughter Charlotte, who was born with an angel kiss on her left eye. This picture was taken when she was 6 weeks old, and the kiss was completely gone by the time she was 6 months old.
Here’s a photo of Charlie a few minutes after her birth. Notice the angel’s kiss on one eye, and the vernix that is keeping the other one closed. As a doting grandmother, even I have to admit that this is not the most flattering picture of her in my collection.
If the salmon patch shows up on the back of the baby’s head or neck, it’s called a “Stork Bite” . This is supposedly the mark left by the mythical stork who carried your little bundle of joy by the neck when he ‘delivered’ him to your door step.
Salmon patches aren’t painful or contagious, and they fade with time. Most will disappear by the time the baby is a year old, but they may continue to turn red when your baby cries or gets overheated.
“Stork Bites” on the back of the neck are less likely to fade completely than “Angel Kisses”, but usually the hair covers them up so they aren’t very noticeable.
Anne Smith, IBCLC