Our L&D unit had their policies for FHR/strips documenting in place. Their policy said they should document every ____ minutes. (I don't know the details.) One super busy evening they happened to have a baby born who had evidently been in distress and was severly brain damaged as a result of lack of oxygen during the delivery. Until the delivery occurred, everything looked like a textbook vaginal delivery would be expected. The family took the hospital to court and won because the nurse didn't document the FHR/strips as their protocol instructed.
After that law suit, the L&D unit changed their protocols. The new protocols are more "flexible" now while at the same time following AWHONN standards.
I was working on the Mother-Baby unit when the child was born (I'm not an L&D nurse) and in the NICU when the case went to court a few years later.
I agree with finding out the AWHONN standards. Also, be sure to know what YOUR facility's protocol states. In the case I mentioned above, the only thing that caused the nurse and hospital to loose was the hospital's protocol.
By the way, the L&D nurse caring for that patient no longer works as a nurse. I don't know why, but I do know she quit nursing altogether. Very sad for the family as well as the nurse...