Spalding sign (fetal demise)

Last revised by Grace Carpenter on 19 Feb 2020

The Spalding sign refers to the overlapping of the fetal skull bones caused by collapse of the fetal brain. It appears usually a week or more after fetal death in utero. 

This finding was originally described by Alfred Baker Spalding (1874-1942), an American obstetrician 2, on abdominal radiographs and is indicative of fetal demise.

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Cases and figures

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  • Spalding sign
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