Fetal phonocardiography is a simple and noninvasive diagnostic technique for surveillance of fetal well-being. The fetal phonocardiographic (fPCG) signals carry valuable information about the anatomical and physiological states of the fetal heart. This article is concerned with a study of continuous wavelet transform (CWT)-based scalogram in analyzing the fPCG signals. The scalogram has both spatial and frequency resolution powers, whereas traditional spectral estimation methods only have the frequency resolution ability. The fPCG signals are acquired by a specially developed data recording system. Segmentation of these signals into fundamental components of fetal heart sound (S1 & S2) is carried out through envelope detection and thresholding techniques. CWT-based scalogram is used for time-frequency characterization of the segmented fPCG signals. It has been shown that the wavelet scalogram provides enough features of the fPCG signals that will help to obtain qualitative and quantitative measurements of the time-frequency characteristics of the fPCG signals and consequently, assist in diagnosis. The proposed method for time-frequency analysis (TFA) and the associated pre-processing have been shown to be suitable for the characterization of fPCG signals, yielding relatively good and robust results in the experimental evaluation. © 2011 World Scientific Publishing Company.