Abstract : Background and objective: This paper proposes a simple yet effective method for the extraction of foetal ECG from abdominal ECG which is necessary due to similar spatial and temporal content of mother and foetal ECG. Methods: The proposed algorithm for extraction of foetal ECG (fECG) from abdominal signal uses single channel. Pre-processing of abdominal ECG (abdECG) has been done to eliminate noise and condition the signal. The maternal ECG R-peaks have been detected based on thresholding, first order Gaussian differentiation and zero cross detection on pre-processed signal. Having identified R-peaks and pre-processed signal as base, using Maximum Likelihood Estimation, one beat including QRS complex morphology of maternal ECG (mECG) has been constructed. Extraction of maternal ECG from abdECG is done based on the constructed beat, R-peak locations and its corresponding QRS complex of abdECG. Extracted mECG has been cancelled from abdECG. This results in foetal ECG with residual noise. The noise has been reduced by Polynomial Approximation and Total Variation (PATV) to improve SNR. This approach ensures no loss of partially or completely overlapped fECG signals due to mECG removal. The algorithm is tested on three database namely daISy (DB I ), Physiobank challenge 2013 (DB II ) and abdominal and direct foetal ECG database (adfecgdb) of Physiobank (DB III ). Results: The algorithm detected no false positives or false negatives with certain channel for DB I , DB II and DB III which shows that the proposed algorithm can achieve good performance. Overall accuracy and sensitivity of the system is 98.53% and 100% for DB I . Best accuracy and sensitivity of 97.77% and 98.63% are obtained for DB II . Best accuracy of 92.41% and sensitivity of 93.8% are obtained for DB III . Correlation coefficient between actual foetal heart rate (fHR) and estimated fHR of 0.66 for DB II and 0.59 for DB III is obtained. The method has obtained overall F1 score of 99.25% for DB I , 96.04% for DB II and 94.25% for DB III . It has obtained a best MSE of fHR and overall MSE of R-R interval which is 10.8bpm 2 and 2.2 ms for DB II , 12bpm 2 and 2.14 ms for DB III . Conclusion: The results for different public databases show that the proposed method is capable of providing good results. The foetal QRS, R-peaks and R-R intervals have also been obtained in this method. Thus, it gives a significant contribution in the required area of research. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.