Wil Dubois

Need help navigating life with diabetes? Or just have questions you don't know whom to ask? Welcome to Ask D'Mine, our weekly advice column, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and educator Wil Dubois.

This week, Wil takes on a somewhat quirky question about type 1 women having babies. Don't worry: he always does his homework!

{Got D-questions of your own? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}


Rachel, type 1 from Texas, writes: Hi Wil! I'm a CDE down in Houston. I have had three patients tell me (in a very matter-of-fact tone) that infants of moms with diabetes sleep better through the night, sleep through the night earlier, and are less fussy in general. All three people who told this to me were type 1 ladies who had normally developed children without any health issues. I can't find any research or literature on the subject of infant of moms with type 1 and sleep patterns. Maybe it's the silver lining to having type 1 and going through pregnancy? Ever heard anything like it, even anecdotally? As I am a type 1 who is 39 weeks pregnant herself, I would *really* love for this to be true and it's just something I missed hearing about for all these years...

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: For that to be true, we would need to live in a Just Universe, and you all know my feelings on the likelihood of that being true, right?

I agree with you that there doesn't appear to be anything published on this subject, but we could be wrong because it's a tricky topic to search for. Most of the key words lead in the wrong direction, for instance, entering "type 1" and "mother" together largely leads to things about D-moms and/or genetic risk factors of passing diabetes on to the next generation.

Science having failed me, and not evening having a single anecdote on the subject to share with you, I decided to reach out to some of my D-sisters who have kids and ask them about their experiences. I worried that they might be biased; after all, don't we all have perfect children? I'm pretty sure that badly behaved, fussy kids who don't sleep well belong to other people.

But I need not have worried about parental bias. Here's what my girl-club had to say:

[Disclaimer: I had no part to play in any of these women getting pregnant.]

Brandy Barnes of DiabetesSisters said, "Sorry to burst this wonderful bubble (oh, how I Sleeping Baby ZZZswish this was true!) — but my daughter did not sleep all that well through the night for a long time. She had colic, so she was very fussy, crying all through the day and night for the first 3 months of her life."

Agamatrix's Allison Fox states, "It would be nice if it were the silver lining to having to deal with diabetes and pregnancy!" But that sadly her daughter was, "INCREDIBLY fussy early on." However, she thinks there could be a grain of truth here, in that "both of my kids have been good sleepers — it wasn't like they were sleeping through the night at 5 weeks or anything totally unrealistic like that — but they have both been good sleepers." She also points out that as a woman with diabetes, she doesn't have any other experience to compare to.

Sarah Kaye of Sugabetic also had mixed results, saying, "Weeelll, I may be no expert on the matter, but this is only partially the case with my kid. He slept through the night at around 3 months of age, from around 8pm until around 6am. Every time he hit a growth spurt or was teething, the times would change a little, but it only lasted for about a week. But as far as being less fussy? No."

Sysy Morales of The Girl's Guide to Diabetes tells me, "I wish I could say it was true in my experience, (but) I had the opposite with my twins. They were perfectly healthy but were very fussy, didn't sleep more than 2-3 hours in a row, and generally made me worry about them every minute of every day." She says it was a good year and a half until they slept through the night.

Nicole Johnson, former Miss America and now on the International Board of Directors for JDRF shared that experience, saying, "Seems like I was awake for years."

Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced says, "I've never heard anything of the sort... From the hundreds of moms I've met, I would say that you're just as likely to have a baby that does sleep well as you are not to." She thought the whole better baby thing "sounds anecdotal and coincidental to me. I had one child who ate every 90 minutes throughout the night and was never fussy and another child who slept through the night for the most part, but spent most of the day screaming. At the end of the day, every baby is different. I am not buying that there is inherently better sleep from a baby of a type 1."

Kelly Close of Close Concerns also chalks up the reports you received to luck, not fact, saying, "How would the moms know? That sounds super anecdotal. My kids all did sleep very well, but honestly, I would not tie it to type 1. What would be the mechanism, if you will?!"

Christel Aprigiliano of ThePerfectD rounds out my girl pack (this time) by saying, "It's pure anecdote. My daughter was 5 weeks early and we had 8 weeks of every-two-hour feedings and a diagnosis of reflux that caused her sleep issues just not for me but for everyone else in the house. We worked on sleep training her by five months and she slept well, but it had nothing to do with me being type 1. I think it has more to do with the temperament of the family. And now? She's three, and she doesn't nap and wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes. So, in my humble opinion, no. And no. And no."

So what about all the rest of you T1 Ladies with Babies? Chime in via comments with your own experiences!

So there you have it, Rachel, I'm sorry to say the preponderance of the evidence from my informal poll shows that the babes of your T1 sisters are just as fussy and sleep just as poorly as the babes of sugar-normal ladies. I think your informants may be suffering from self-delusional, revisionist wishful thinking. High blood sugar sometimes causes that. At least I remember reading that somewhere once.

And I'm probably talking out of turn here, but I think that's a good thing. By their very nature babies are built to be a lot of work. But I think its work you ladies are blessed to have. After all, it wasn't that many years ago the medical community discouraged type 1 women from getting pregnant and having children at all. We've come a long way with babies, Baby.



This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.