Cardiotocography (CTG) is applied routinely for fetal monitoring during the perinatal period to decrease the rates of neonatal mortality and morbidity as well as unnecessary interventions. The analysis of CTG traces has become an indispensable part of present clinical practices; however, it also has serious drawbacks, such as poor specificity and variability in its interpretation. The automated CTG analysis is seen as the most promising way to overcome these disadvantages. in this study, a novel prognostic model is proposed for predicting fetal hypoxia from CTG traces based on an innovative approach called image-based time-frequency (IBTF) analysis comprised of a combination of short time Fourier transform (STFT) and gray level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM). More specifically, from a graphical representation of the fetal heart rate (FHR) signal, the spectrogram is obtained by using STFT. The spectrogram images are converted into 8-bit grayscale images, and IBTF features such as contrast, correlation, energy, and homogeneity are utilized for identifying FHR signals. At the final stage of the analysis, different subsets of the feature space are applied as the input to the least square support vector machine (LS-SVM) classifier to determine the most informative subset. For this particular purpose, the genetic algorithm is employed. The prognostic model was performed on the open-access intrapartum CTU-UHB CTG database. The sensitivity and specificity obtained using only conventional features were 57.33% and 67.24%, respectively, whereas the most effective results were achieved using a combination of conventional and IBTF features, with a sensitivity of 63.45% and a specificity of 65.88%. Conclusively, this study provides a new promising approach for feature extraction of FHR signals. In addition, the experimental outcomes showed that IBTF features provided an increase in the classification accuracy.