Summary. Four statistical issues concerning the analysis of birthweight and maternal weight gain during pregnancy are discussed: (1) Part-whole correlation is described (e.g. the correlation between total maternal weight gain and her infant's birthweight). (2) The choice between a ratio or two separate explanatory variables is explored (e.g. body mass index or using maternal weight and height separately). (3) Two statistical properties (bias and power) when a binary variable replaces a continuous variable are discussed (e.g. consequences of using low birthweight instead of reported birthweight). (4) A model selection procedure is presented to provide a way to select a useful subset of variables from a large number of available explanatory variables to model an outcome variable (e.g. birthweight). These issues are illustrated with a set of 4017 births from Moffitt Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco. Furthermore, these four issues arise in a number of applications of statistical methods to data collected to study the epidemiology of newborn infants.