epi·​si·​ot·​o·​my i-ˌpi-zē-ˈä-tə-mē How to pronounce episiotomy (audio)
: surgical incision of the perineum to enlarge the vaginal opening for obstetrical purposes during the birth process

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Mayo Clinic notes that an episiotomy might only be recommended if the fetus’s shoulder is stuck behind the pelvic bone, the fetus has an unusual heart rate pattern, or forceps or a vacuum are needed. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, 27 Dec. 2022 The body knows what to do, and interventions—like electronic monitoring, vaginal exams, labor induction, episiotomy, and epidurals—impede birth from unfolding as nature intends, a free birther would argue. Rebecca Grant, Marie Claire, 9 June 2021 That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended against routine use of episiotomy since 2006. Cassandra Willyard, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 Doctors began routinely using episiotomies to deliver babies. Cassandra Willyard, New York Times, 17 Apr. 2020 The only difference was I was given a double episiotomy and the vertical one ripped to my butthole. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 25 Mar. 2020 Less common were other threats; physical abuse, including refusing anesthesia for an episiotomy (a cut to the perineum to aid with delivery); or sharing private information without women’s consent. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Sep. 2019 The number of cesarean sections, the number of forceps deliveries and the number of episiotomies were almost identical in the two groups. Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2017 According to George, there wasn't enough time for an episiotomy—a surgical incision that enlarges the vaginal opening before childbirth. Lindsey Lanquist, SELF, 12 July 2017 See More

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

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary episio- vulva (from Greek epision pubic region) + -tomy

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of episiotomy was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near episiotomy

Cite this Entry

“Episiotomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/episiotomy. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural episiotomies
: an operation to enlarge the opening of the vagina at the time of childbirth to make delivery easier

Medical Definition


epi·​si·​ot·​o·​my i-ˌpiz-ē-ˈät-ə-mē How to pronounce episiotomy (audio) -ˌpēz- How to pronounce episiotomy (audio)
plural episiotomies
: surgical enlargement of the vulval orifice for obstetrical purposes during childbirth

More from Merriam-Webster on episiotomy

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