The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of dietary patterns (DP) with maternal adiposity indicators, leptin, adiponectin and insulin concentrations during pregnancy. A prospective cohort of pregnant women followed up at the 5th–13th, 20th –26th and 30th–36th gestational weeks and 30–40 d postpartum was conducted in Rio de Janeiro. A FFQ was administered in the third trimester (30th–36th gestational weeks). The reduced rank regression procedure was used to identify DP that explain response variables (dietary fibre and total fat) related to indicators of maternal adiposity (postpartum weight retention and gestational weight gain (GWG) adequacy), and plasma leptin, adiponectin and insulin concentrations. The associations between tertiles of DP and the outcomes were determined using logistic regression or longitudinal linear mixed-effect regression models. The mean daily energy intake during pregnancy was 10 104 (sd 3234) kJ (2415 (sd 773) kcal), and GWG was 11·9 (sd 4·2) kg. In all, 40 % of women presented pre-gestational overweight/obesity. Excessive GWG occurred in 34·7 % of pregnant women and 56·6 % were overweight/obese at postpartum. The ‘common-Brazilian’ DP (characterised by higher intake of beans, rice and lower intake of fast food/snacks, candies/table sugar and processed meats/bacon) was positively associated with adiponectin (β=1·07; 95 % CI 0·17, 1·98). The ‘Western’ DP (characterised by higher intake of fast food/snacks and processed meat/bacon and lower intake of noodles/pasta/roots/tubers and sodas) was negatively associated with adiponectin (β=−1·11; 95 % CI −2·00, −0·22) and positively associated with leptin concentrations (β=64·9; 95 % CI 22·8, 107·0) throughout pregnancy. It may be suggested that the ‘common-Brazilian’ is a healthy DP and beneficial for serum concentrations of adiponectin and leptin.