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Dr. Jewelia Wagner and her daughter, Autumn, who was born Oct. 24.

Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Jewelia Wagner plays intramural volleyball at Dakota Hills Middle School.

RICH TSONG-TAATARI , Star Tribune

How I Got This Body: Jewelia Wagner is one fit mama

  • Article by: SHEILA MULROONEY ELDRED
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • March 11, 2013 - 9:22 AM

Jewelia Wagner always knew she wanted to go to medical school, and she has always been active — the four-sport high school athlete and collegiate volleyball player helped coach high school volleyball during med school. She combined her passions by studying exercise and pregnancy in med school, and is now living them out: The new mom exercised throughout her pregnancy, runs regularly and is looking for a volleyball team to join.

Mom on the move

“I moved here in June, when I was 30 weeks pregnant. My daughter was born Oct. 24. Up until about 24 weeks, I didn’t change my activity level. I was playing volleyball and running about 5 miles. After 26 weeks, there were times I’d stop and walk, and at the end I was just walking for an hour.”

Pumping iron and milk

“I came back [to exercise] when Autumn was 6 weeks old. It’s a little discouraging when you first start. It’s definitely something you have to ramp back up to and get into slowly and surely. Let me tell you, breastfeeding is so difficult to fit in between work and exercise … but it’s doable. My husband is super supportive and allows me to take the time to get my run in. I can’t take an hour any more, but I can do a half hour.”

Exercising empathy

“Exercising through my own pregnancy gives me a little bit of credibility” at work, Clinic Sofia in Edina, “and it helps me relate to how my patients are feeling. But everyone goes through their own experience.

“I think people are becoming better educated about exercising during pregnancy, and they know that it’s good. I ask my patients what baseline activity they’re doing, and if they say Zumba or walking or running, I tell them to continue and maintain. It’s not a time to start a new program.

“I tell them the benefits of staying active — lower risk of diabetes, less high blood pressure — and I tell them to listen to their body and they’ll know when it’s time to modify. If they’re concerned about whether it’s safe or not, I reassure them, and they’re happy and excited to hear that, because they want to keep exercising.

After baby

“The biggest change for me is that I can’t take extra time to go to the gym, so I had to evaluate my diet. I knew I was going to have some difficulty, so I joined Weight Watchers, and they modify their plan for being postpartum and breastfeeding. Facing the scale makes you accountable, it gives you objective data. You don’t necessarily have to do Weight Watchers, but it’s important to have objective evidence. “ 

Balancing act

“I play volleyball and I would like to do [running] races again. My goal is to be healthy and feel fit and feel like I’m in balance with my life — giving my family the time they need and focusing on my patients, as well.”

Fit family

“My husband goes to the gym every day. He’s a runner, he lifts weights and wants to sign up for a triathlon. It’s kind of contagious. An active family stays active. I can’t wait until I can incorporate Autumn a little bit more with my activities. I’m already thinking that, in a couple of years, she can do dance and swimming lessons.

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