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Prepping for Prom with an Insulin Pump

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  4/23/2013 6:16 PM


The great group of friends, check. The corsage, check. The special dress, check. Where to wear an insulin pump? Still trying to figure that out. This is what the check list sounded like as one of our customers named Kelly prepared for prom. One of the important events in a teenager’s life is getting the opportunity to go to prom. When you have diabetes and an insulin pump it takes just a little extra planning. But, like Kelly, if you think through your options before hand, you can have a blast as you dance the night away! Have your own tips to share? Be sure to tell us in the comments how you wear your pump when you’re dressed up in a fancy dress or tux!

As if going to prom doesn’t cause enough drama and anticipation, try dealing with the many complications of prom AND diabetes! Last year I was a junior, it was my first prom and I was a little nervous to say the least. However, dealing with my diabetes and insulin pump at the prom was much easier than expected. From the beginning I was worried about where to put my pump, as I always am when trying on clothes. I purchased a strapless bra to wear underneath my strapless dress and decided to put my pump on the side of my dress where my arm covers it. This worked perfectly because it was comfortable and didn’t get in the way of my dancing.

Putting my pump in my bra doesn’t work with all clothing items but, luckily, there are several alternatives. I have a thigh pouch that wraps around my leg and has an attached pocket to put my pump in. Another way around the challenging feat of dressing cute while being practical is wearing a pair of tight shorts, like spandex, and placing the pump in between the waistband and your skin.

When it comes to long dresses, the tricky thing was when it came time to eat. If I were wearing a short dress I would just slip my pump out of my bra and down the bottom of the dress, however, with a long dress that is neither practical nor accessible. There are ways around this little complication, though. For example, girls are always willing to go to the bathroom whether or not they actually have to go, and I took advantage of the group bathroom trips. When it was time to bolus I asked the girls at my table if anyone wanted to go to the bathroom (they all did…and the guys at my table jokingly rolled their eyes) and there I was able to pull out my pump, simple as that. If you’re comfortable, you can pull out your pump at the table and bolus there. There are many options and one may work better for you than another but that is entirely up to you. Finding a dress for prom is exciting and aggravating, but finding a place for your pump doesn’t have to be. Be creative and try different placements to find what is best for you… there is no right answer!

We all know that diabetes seems to dominate life patterns. What you eat, when you eat, and how you look at your health. I just assumed that prom was another one of those things that diabetes affected and boy was I wrong. That night, I was just a teenager dancing like crazy and singing at the top of my lungs. Diabetes was still in the back of my mind, but the fact that I had a hidden pump in my dress and had to take a few trips to the bathroom to test my blood sugar didn’t stop me from having a blast.

Diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love. Sure, there are several obstacles and thought processes that I have to go through that my friends don’t. The difference between living a life with diabetes and living life is the attitude you take in every frustrating situation that accompanies diabetes. You can be sure that I am the girl in the front row at every sporting game screaming her heart out, the girl on the volleyball court having the time of her life, and the girl eating pizza with her best friends, but I will never be known as the girl with diabetes.

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. 
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

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Posted on Tue Apr 23 22:06:05 GMT 2013

Every time I have a dance, basketball or volleyball game, or I just need to hide my pump, I wear my spandex. My grandma sewed a pocket for my pump into spandex. I just slip it in there and it stays secure. It's nice because you can't see it under a dress and when playing sports it can't get caught on anything.

Samantha Scott

Posted on Tue Apr 23 22:29:02 GMT 2013

Well done girl what an inspiration xx

Vicki McDonald

Posted on Tue Apr 23 22:51:51 GMT 2013

I am much beyond prom years, but when wearing a formal dress, I do put it in my bra. (I was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1964.) Best way to do this is loop it over the front of the bra. Then it can't fall out. Before doing this however, I put my pump on vibrate and I dig out my remote control for my pump. No running to the ladies room. Just guess how many carbs I'm eating, bolus, and feel the vibration as the bolus is delivered. (This is one time I didn't care too much about what my CGM was telling me.)

Marsha Goren

Posted on Wed Apr 24 05:39:31 GMT 2013

Having been a Type 1 Diabetic for 39 years, I've been on the Medtronic Insulin Pump and CGM System for about seven years and Vicki McDonald's reference to a remote for use to bolus, is the first time I have ever heard of it. Could I possibly get information on the remote control unit? I'm sure there would be a lot of times in which it would be a very useful tool for me.
Thank you so much,
Marsha Goren


Posted on Wed Apr 24 20:30:14 GMT 2013

Hi Marsha, good question. There is a remote that can be used with our 508 or Paradigm insulin pumps and it allows you to tell your pump when you need insulin, without having to take out your pump. You can find order information in our store:
Let me know if you have any more questions.


Posted on Tue Apr 15 17:02:19 GMT 2014

I wear the pump clipped to the front of my bra 99% of the time. I have the MM flat, low profile clip. However if I'm in a fancy strapless lower cut dress that isn't conducive to that I have another secret. That particular dress would have a big bulge if the pump was tucked into the waist band of Spanx, so I got the longer Spanx that end mid-thigh, where the dress isn't as clingy, and tuck the pump under the Spanx on my leg, just above where they end. I remove the clip in that case. As the official thigh pouch falls down on me, I've also used a big hair scrunchy around my lower thigh and clipped the pump to it if I don't want to wear the Spanx.


Posted on Tue Apr 15 17:45:02 GMT 2014

I have been wearing the pump for 15 years and 90% of the time I clip it on my bra between my breast. No one even sees it and I can even give my self bolus' without taking it out by pressing the B and the up arrow for the # of units i want to give my self, then press the ACT buttom. It is all by feel. It is also on vibrate so I can also then count the # of units when it is in ACT mode. The only problem is I can't wear real low cut tops, which I don't typically do anyway. Hope this suggestion helps.


Posted on Tue Apr 15 19:08:57 GMT 2014

I also wear the pump clipped to the front of my bra but it still sometimes sticks out just a little. I have found clipping it to my underwear works well in a looser dress or when I have to wear a suit for work as I don't like to clip it to the wasteband and have the stares or questions that accompany that.


Posted on Tue Apr 15 19:10:09 GMT 2014

I typically just clip to the waist band of my pants. It does not bother me to have it seen. I do recall having a good chuckle from wearing my pump on my bra. Last year my daughter had a formal Christmas Ball to attend. Parents went to the dinner to take pics of all the kids. I thought it would be nice to 'hide' my pump by clipping to the front of my bra. Well as we all know we just used to our pumps beeping and vibrating. After about 3 or 4 times of it vibrating a friend says to me ' what is glowing under your shirt' haha. i forgot about the illumination of the screen on my pump and was walking around like a glow bug. So much for hiding it. :)


Posted on Tue Apr 15 19:26:44 GMT 2014

I am in a wedding in August and will be 6 months pregnant. I have a small chest and the dress is fairly low cut so sticking it in my bra is out of the question. The dress itself is a long mermaid style dress (probably not great for pregnancy!), and fitted down until the middle of my thigh. I like the spandex idea, but I'm not sure if you can get those for pregnancy...? I'd also like it decently accessible so that I can bolus and check what my CGM reading is. Help! Where can I put my pump?


Posted on Tue Apr 15 20:14:42 GMT 2014

I have been buying dresses with pockets (or having small hidden pockets added to more formal outfits). I cut a small hole inside the pocket and feed the pump tubing through it. That way, I can just pull my pump out of my pocket and then tuck the extra tubing back in.

Pockets at the hip on dresses that flow a little bit have worked best for me. You can't see my pump or the tubing until I take it out. It just takes an extra little hole!

For less formal occasions, I also buy dresses with belts. I take my pump out through the arm hole and then clip it onto the belt (kinda under my arm). It's discrete but still very accessible.


Posted on Wed Apr 16 00:10:56 GMT 2014

Kaitlin, not to worry, they do make spandex for pregnancy: Spanx Power Mama Panty-Maternity. Good luck

Angela Phillips

Posted on Wed Apr 16 03:32:51 GMT 2014

Sometimes I will wear a scarf around my waist and stick my pump on it on inside so don't show. Lots I can do with my scarves just an idea for everyone cause I put mine all different places and cover it up and if u have a nicer one it holds very well ladies. Thanks for all ur ideas also. I am learning. Have had diabetes 32 years and the pump as been a savior for me. But can get in the way. Hope for a smaller one soon. Hope that helps

Cheryl Cullen

Posted on Wed Apr 16 06:35:22 GMT 2014

So many creative ideas!! I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007. I had both breast removed and wear prosthesis...I had to completely change the way I dressed and then shop for masetomy bras. Well after a lot of trial and error I finally found the style bra I liked. And for those of you who don't know...masetomy bras come with pockets for the prosthesis. Anyway my bras have a lace inset in the front of the bra. That's wear I usually wear my pump when I'm out... don't have to clip it. It just fits sugglly between my prosthesis. I do get a occasional strange look when I pull out my pump from my bra...guessing it's just something something you see every day!!!


Posted on Wed Apr 16 15:02:29 GMT 2014

I love having a forum to talk about this with others - it's so important to life!

When wearing a dress/skirt I have tried to use the leg band with the pocket. This never seems to work well because if the pump is on the inside of my leg I walk bow legged. Outside and top of leg creates a bulge and back of leg gets sat on. Ideas?

When I put my pump in the band between my pants and underwear or in my bra, I find that the pump gets very sweaty. I'm guessing this is safe because my pump still works, but I was wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions on this.


Posted on Wed Apr 16 22:28:26 GMT 2014

I worry when I swim or do yard work and have to remove my pump. How long can I leave it off before I have to reconnect my pump? I try to only have it off less than 3 hrs& between basal infusions. Then put it on for meals/bolus. What would be the time limit. I plan on going kayacking next week and will be out for several hours. Any suggestions?


Posted on Wed Apr 16 22:50:00 GMT 2014

Hi Naomi, great question! You can disconnect your pump for up to an hour, so if you're planning on disconnecting for more than an hour, be sure to talk to your healthcare team about a backup plan, as they will be able to give you the best advice. You might also find this blog helpful: Please let me know if I can help with anything else and have fun next week!


Posted on Thu Apr 17 21:50:26 GMT 2014

Hi Naomi, I'm not sure why you're taking your pump off to garden. Mine is only off when I'm in the shower. As far as kayaking, there is a waterproof case for pumps and not trusting that completely you can also use a 'dry bag' for further assurance. Clip or secure your pump to the shoulder of your life preserver and it will be above water even if you go in momentarily. Have fun!


Posted on Tue Apr 22 07:25:27 GMT 2014

I have been a diabetic for 37 years started out with shots and moved to pump. When I got married we had them sew two pockets on either side of my dress on the inside to put it in. It worked really well for holding it.


Posted on Thu Apr 24 14:36:20 GMT 2014

Usually I will tuck my pump into my bra when wearing a dress. This has only backfired on my once. I happened to have it positioned so the screen was against my skin. After hours of dancing at a conference in August, I returned to my hotel room and my display was foggy! I called Medtronic and texted a photo of my display to the tech. He said there must have been a small crack in the display letting moisture (from delicately named boob sweat :)) So now my solution is to cut the cuff off a baby sock and position the display away from my skin. No problemo :) BTW, Medtronic, being awesome as usual, replaced my pump!!

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