Database Open Access

Fetal ECG Synthetic Database

Fernando Andreotti Joachim Behar Gari D. Clifford

Published: April 29, 2016. Version: 1.0.0

When using this resource, please cite the original publication:

Andreotti F., Behar J., Zaunseder S.,Oster J. and Clifford G D., An Open-Source Framework for Stress-Testing Non-Invasive Foetal ECG Extraction Algorithms. Physiol Meas 5, pp. 627-648, 2016.

Please include the standard citation for PhysioNet: (show more options)
Goldberger, A., Amaral, L., Glass, L., Hausdorff, J., Ivanov, P. C., Mark, R., ... & Stanley, H. E. (2000). PhysioBank, PhysioToolkit, and PhysioNet: Components of a new research resource for complex physiologic signals. Circulation [Online]. 101 (23), pp. e215–e220.


The FECGSYNDB is a large database of simulated adult and non-invasive fetal ECG (NI-FECG) signals, which provides a robust resource that enables reproducible research in the field. The data is generated using the FECGSYN simulator (visit website).

Experiment/Simulation Details

The simulator represents maternal and foetal hearts as punctual dipoles with different magnitudes and spatial positions. This current version obtains foetal–maternal mixtures by treating each abdominal signal component (e.g. foetal/maternal ECG or noise signals) as an individual source, whose signal is propagated onto the observational points (‘electrodes’). Therefore this database is able to provide separate waveform files for each signal source.

The modeled volume conductor, sampled from 34 channels (32 abdominal and 2 maternal ECG reference channels), is shown in fig1.png. The figure shows side (a) and upper (b) views the of volume conductor. Positions of foetal (small sphere, blue) and maternal (larger sphere, red) hearts shown.

For this database, ten different pregnancies were simulated. For each simulated pregnant subject, seven different physiological events were considered and simulated as described below:

Case Description
Baseline Abdominal mixture (no noise or events)
0 Baseline (no events) + noise
1 Foetal movement + noise
2 MHR /FHR acceleration / decelerations + noise
3 Uterine contraction + noise
4 Ectopic beats (for both foetus and mother) + noise
5 Additional NI-FECG (twin pregnancy) + noise

On top of this, there were five different levels of additive noise and 5 repetitions for each combination of settings.

Overall a total of 10 (simulated pregnants) x 7 (cases) x 5 (SNR levels) x 5 (repetitions) = 1750 synthetic signals were produced, totaling 145.8 hours of multichannel data with 1.1 million fetal peaks. Each simulation had a duration of 5 minutes, and was sampled at 250 Hz with a 16-bit resolution. For more technical details, see section 2.1 of Andreotti et al., 2016.


Each subdirectory subXX/snrYYdb/ includes a set of data for simulated pregnancy XX and SNR level YY.

Inside each subdirectory are numerous files in WFDB format. The files names are in the form



XX = simulated pregnancy number [01 to 10].
YY = SNR level [00, 03, 06, 09, 12] dB.
Z = repetition number [1 to 5].
WW = [c0 to c5], or empty for the baseline case, representing the cases shown in the above section.
VVVV = Fetal ECG [fecgN] where N is the fetus number, maternal ECG [mecg], or [noise].

The file extensions are in the standard WFDB MIT format: .hea for header files, and .dat for signal files. As shown in Fig. 1 above, channels 1–32 are the abdominal FECG channels and channels 33-34 are the maternal reference ECG channels. Header files also contain additional model parameters described in table 2 of Andreotti et al. The units are listed as 'nu' for no units since the signals are simulated, though their amplitudes do correspond to the 1–2mV amplitudes of normal MECG signals. Annotation files .qrs give machine generated QRS locations of their respective signals.


If you have any questions, suggestions or want to know more about FECGSYNDB, do not hesitate to contact us .


Access Policy:
Anyone can access the files, as long as they conform to the terms of the specified license.

License (for files):
Open Data Commons Attribution License v1.0


DOI (version 1.0.0):

synthetic fetal ecg

Corresponding Author
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Total uncompressed size: 33.3 GB.

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Name Size Modified
ANNOTATORS (download) 36 B 2016-04-28
RECORDS (download) 273.4 KB 2016-04-26
SHA256SUMS.txt (download) 1.8 MB 2019-02-20