Forceps consist of two spoon-shaped stainless steel blades. They slide around the side of the baby’s head and fit snugly between the wall of the vagina and the head. Once placed carefully in position, the doctor, in time with the contractions, will apply traction (and sometimes rotation) to deliver the head. The baby may be born with some red marks on its face and head from the forceps, but they disappear after a few weeks.
Another method of assisted delivery is vacuum extraction, in which a suction cap (ventouse) is attached to the baby’s head, and traction is applied to the cap to help pull out the baby.