What Are Some Beliefs on the Symbolic Meaning of Birthmarks?

In some cultures, people believe that birthmarks predict future traits of an infant. For example, some believe that a birthmark on the baby's foot is an indication that she will travel a lot as an adult, while a mark on the back may signify that she will be truthful and open-minded. Other people believe that birthmarks originate from specific events experienced during the mother's pregnancy, such as getting a fright or having an fulfilled desire for a certain food.

Beliefs about birthmarks often derive from their shape, size or location on the baby's body. For example, some people believe that a heart-shaped birthmark signifies that the person will be passionate and have a fulfilling love life. A birthmark on the baby's legs may be a sign of independence. A birthmark on the right arm may predict financial success, as the right arm is traditionally associated with receiving money. Some New Age communities also believe that birth marks are caused by traumatic injuries or events from the infant's past life.

Though many cultures view birth marks as an omen or symbol of a baby's future, from a medical point of view, birthmarks are simply a harmless concentration of skin pigments that commonly appears during or after birth.