What a week it has been! After countless hospital appointments, scans and medication, we can happily say that we have concluded treatment for Amelia's strawberry birthmark. Here is our experience.
Firstly, what is a strawberry birthmark?
A strawberry birthmark (also known as infantile hemangioma) is a collection of blood vessels grouped together that form a lesion or "birthmark". They are more commonly found on females whom are Caucasian, premature and/or resulting of multiple births.
Like most infantile hemangiomas, Amelia's' was not present when she was born and instead appeared one week later as a small scratch on her face. During the months following, it grew aggressively and soon looked like a small red tumor growing on the side of her face and top of her skull.
Socially, it became a difficult topic for me to avoid. I found myself constantly defending Amelia, trying to divert conversation away from the birthmark. Being a first time mum meant that I was already sensitive to criticism and it was worsened by having strangers approach me in the street to give their opinion. Children would innocently point at it to their parents and their inquisitive minds meant they questioned me relentlessly on why she had it growing on her face.
It was at this point we decided to seek medical advice to see what our options would be for treatment
Treatment for a Strawberry Birthmark
Most strawberry birthmarks resolve on their own. However due to the intensity and how quickly it had developed, we were referred to see a pediatric specialist in hospital. During the appointment they expressed their concern of the rapid growth of the birthmark as it meant there was a possibility in the future that it could affect her hearing and vision. Amelia was also given a brain ultrasound to ensure it had not grown deeply in to her brain. This was both frightening and concerning but gave us a clearer indication of the severity.
Luckily we were given the all clear from the brain ultrasound and were given the option to begin Amelia on a beta blocker known as propranolol. Propranolol is more commonly used with heart patients and can affect blood pressure, sleeping and heart rate. After extensive research we decided to proceed with the medication.
Using Propranolol for a Strawberry Birthmark
Once Amelia started taking the propranolol we noticed a small change with her lesion. It slowly got flatter and slightly smaller around the edges. Within a few months it had almost completely flattened out and began to dissolve.
We continued the medication for 7 months and finished up on her birthday. There is still some redness to the lesion however it has completely flattened out apart from a tiny bit of stretching of the skin. At our final appointment we were advised that we can opt for laser surgery after the age of two to close off the blood vessels to ensure there is no red visible. There is also a possibility that the redness will subside on its own.
We had both criticism and support for starting medication but ultimately the choice is your own. The medication for Amelia drastically improved the lesion and we are extremely happy with the outcome, however each case is individual and may not incur the same results.
If you have any questions regarding our experience, please feel free to contact me at