Bones of the Vault: Fetal Skull

Bones of the vault of the fetal skull include 1 occipital bone, 2 parietal bones, 2 frontal bones, and 2 temporal bones, which are united by non-ossified membranes.

The fetal skull contains a very delicate structure, that is, the brain which may be subjected to great pressure as the head passes through the birth canal during labor.

The fetal head is large in relation to the fetal body and in comparison with the mother’s pelvis; therefore, some adjustment between the fetal skull and the pelvis must take place during delivery.

The bones of the vault are flat and united together by a non-ossified membrane attached to the margins of the bones are called sutures and fontanelles; this helps in the gliding movement of one bone over the other while the head passes through the pelvis during labor.

Bones of the vault

There are 7 main bones in the vault of the fetal skull.

Bones of the vault
Bones of the vault

The occipital bone lies at the back of the head and forms the region of the occiput. The occipital protuberance is present at the center of the occipital bone.

The two parietal bones lie on either side of the skull. Parietal eminence (rounded elevation) is the ossification center of each parietal bone.

The two frontal bones form the forehead or sinciput. At the center of each is a frontal eminence. The two frontal bones fuse to form a single bone by 8 years of age.

The two temporal bones form the side and base of the skull and protect the delicate structures of hearing.


In the above post, we have discussed the bones of the vault of the fetal Skull. Seven bones form the vault, which includes one occipital bone, two parietal bones, two frontal bones, and two temporal bones. The bones of the vault are connected to each other by non-ossified membranes, which help in gliding movements during the process of labor.

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