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An innovative design by James Young Simpson, as a possible alternative to forceps, in cases of prolonged labour. The rubber cup was held in place over the baby’s head by suction but there were technical difficulties in maintaining suction, and so the device was not taken up at this time. However, a century later, when newer synthetic materials became available, the concept came to practice. Nowadays one in eight deliveries in the UK are assisted either by forceps or by ventouse (a suction cup), which is a modern variation of Simpson’s original idea.