Turtle sign (fetal shoulder dystocia)

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 22 Jun 2021

Turtle sign is a clinical sign of fetal shoulder dystocia in which the fetal head retracts 3. The head bobbing, emerging and then pulling back could be conceptualised as similar to a turtle pulling its head into and out of its shell. The sign does not necessarily signify true shoulder dystocia 2.

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