epi·​du·​ral | \ ˌe-pi-ˈd(y)u̇r-əl How to pronounce epidural (audio) \

Definition of epidural

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: situated upon or administered or placed outside the dura mater epidural anesthesia an epidural abscess



Definition of epidural (Entry 2 of 2)

: an injection of a local anesthetic into the space outside the dura mater of the spinal cord in the lower back region to produce loss of sensation especially in the abdomen or pelvic region

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Examples of epidural in a Sentence

Noun Many women undergoing childbirth are given epidurals.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After a couple of hours of this, Landy felt like her epidural was no longer masking the pain. Cassandra Willyard, New York Times, "Episiotomy Rates Are Dropping, but Some Doctors Still Snip," 17 Apr. 2020 Adding to their concerns were memories of how difficult the birth of their first child had been, when Goto endured labor for more than 14 hours without an epidural. Rachel Wenzlaff, ABC News, "How one couple welcomed a baby girl during the novel coronavirus outbreak in China," 6 Mar. 2020 The epidural is a common and effective form of pharmaceutical relief, though the trade-off is less mobility. Patricia Waldron, New York Times, "What to Expect During the Three Stages of Labor," 18 Apr. 2020 But Johnson and East didn't stop with a single Instagram post—the couple also shared a vlog on YouTube (only part one, as of right now) of their entire 22-hour delivery, complete with the moment Johnson had to get her epidural. Leah Groth, Health.com, "Shawn Johnson Says She Felt Like She Had 'Failed' When Her Labor Didn't Go As Planned," 8 Nov. 2019 Judi said Dominic had an epidural planned for Wednesday, and should feel some relief within 24-48 hours. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "'Nobody should go bankrupt because of a medical emergency.' GoFundMe created for Spun Bicycles owners," 6 Feb. 2020 About 12% of midwifery clients were transferred to hospitals for non-life threatening reasons, such as a mother’s desire for an epidural, and 2% were transferred for life-threatening reasons. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Now legal in Alabama, homebirth midwives delivered nearly 100 babies in 2019," 17 Jan. 2020 Not that using a midwife means sacrificing the possibility of an epidural or other pain management if that’s what a woman wants. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "No longer a thing of the past, midwifery care enters the hospital," 23 Jan. 2020 After many more hours of labor, Mitchell opts for an epidural, something the couple had previously disagreed on. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, "Shay Mitchell reveals she was in labor for 33 hours: 'The most intense experience of my life'," 22 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun A few more epidurals were administered throughout the year to get Shannon through his senior season. Tyler James, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football: Long snapper pursues law enforcement career," 6 May 2020 Hospitals have pain management tools like epidurals, but moms may feel more comfortable laboring at home in familiar surroundings. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Home Birth Is Becoming More Popular, but Parents-To-Be Should Do Their Research First," 24 Apr. 2020 The midwives are trained to provide emergency medical interventions, though performing cesarean sections and giving epidurals are outside their skill set. Amber Bracken, New York Times, "Giving Birth Where the Family Is," 5 Jan. 2020 Women who had general anesthesia were also 54% more likely to experience postpartum depression and 91% more likely to have thoughts about suicide or self-harm, compared to those who had regional anesthesia such as spinal blocks or epidurals. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Women who have general anesthesia during C-sections are more likely to experience postpartum depression, study finds," 8 Feb. 2020 Larger hospitals can subsidize them with interventions (ultrasounds, inductions, epidurals) and neonatal intensive-care units, which are lucrative. Emily Bobrow, The New Yorker, "A Midwife in the North Country," 22 Dec. 2019 This happens because epidurals affects the sympathetic nervous system, a series of nerves that spread out from your spine to your body that help control several involuntary body functions, including blood flow. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Epidural Side Effects and Risks, According to an Ob-Gyn," 12 Nov. 2019 After 90 minutes of what felt like fruitless effort, my OB called a time out and cranked the epidural back up. Frances F. Denny, Harper's BAZAAR, "What People Don’t Tell You About Childbirth: The Realities of Vaginal Tearing," 16 July 2018 Fentanyl has long been used in prescription pain patches and epidurals. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epidural.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of epidural


1882, in the meaning defined above


1970, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for epidural

Time Traveler

The first known use of epidural was in 1882

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Statistics for epidural

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Epidural.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epidural. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for epidural



English Language Learners Definition of epidural

medical : an injection of a substance into a person's spine to cause the lower part of the body to become unable to feel pain


epi·​du·​ral | \ ˌep-i-ˈd(y)u̇r-əl How to pronounce epidural (audio) \

Medical Definition of epidural

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: situated upon or administered or placed outside the dura mater epidural injections an epidural abscess

Other Words from epidural

epidurally \ -​ə-​lē How to pronounce epidurally (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of epidural (Entry 2 of 2)

: an injection of an anesthetic to produce epidural anesthesia

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