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

Examples of episiotomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When To Call the Doctor As with all surgical procedures, complications like infection are possible following an episiotomy. Robin Elise Weiss, Phd, Parents, 1 July 2024 An episiotomy may reduce stress on the infant and reduce complications.2 Other benefits of episiotomies may include:2 The infant's head and shoulders cannot fit through your vaginal opening. Korin Miller, Health, 15 Sep. 2023 Her water was broken without her consent, and then a doctor gave her a sudden, unexpected episiotomy to pull her son out. Katharine Gammon, STAT, 26 June 2023 And then there’s the matter of birth: amongst my friends, there have been emergency caesareans, prematurely ruptured membranes, forceps, episiotomies, and inductions, and that’s just the start of it. Faye Keegan, Vogue, 24 June 2023 Sitz baths are also sometimes recommended to treat bladder or yeast infections, cancer radiation treatments, anal fissures, perianal fistulas, uterine cramps, inflammatory bowel disease, and to soothe the area after rectal surgery or an episiotomy. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 14 June 2023 That might include the use of procedures (such as an episiotomy or the administering of IV pitocin) without prior consent; removal of pubic hair; denial of the right to a companion, adequate nutrition and hydration and the freedom of movement during labor. Chantal James, Vogue, 8 Mar. 2022 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'episiotomy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 24 Jul. 2024.

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

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