This paper aims to analyze the women's status during labor. We start with the understanding of the biomedical rationality that characterize the obstetric paradigm, by the technical and technological intervention on the female body, in the belief of its biological instability and the liminal character of the women in labor, with the expectation of normal birth. The methodology used was the participant observation of women in labor in a public maternity in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The analysis was based on the viewpoint of the theory of rituals, considering the technical and technological interventions on the women's bodies. The dialogue established between the obstetric staff and the women in labor includes different perspectives, actors, settings and instruments, affirming the bodies' suffering as the great negotiator of the ritual dynamics.
body; pain; negotiation; labor; ritual.