At home in our own country, it's easy to know how to respond in a situation like this. But on foreign territory, panic can set in and it's sometimes difficult to know what to do. Don’t despair. Most countries sell the same pregnancy tests that are available at home, and with a bit of gesturing you should have no problems trying to communicate with the pharmacist to explain to him or her what it is you want to buy.
Here are a few tips which should help you when shopping for a pregnancy test in holiday hotspots:
Spain: Pregnancy tests in Spain are usually sold at the local pharmacy or Farmacia. You’ll need to ask the pharmacist for una prueba de embarazo. Saying you’re pregnant in Spanish sounds a lot like the English for being embarrassed, so if you’re really stuck for words try saying you might be embarrassed with a Spanish lilt to your accent.
France: Likewise in France, tests are available mostly at pharmacies and cost about 10 euros. The French for pregnancy test is test de grossesse so you’ll need to tell the pharmacist that you veux acheter un test de grossesse. Try to remember that the word sounds a lot like the English words ‘gross’ and ‘ess’ as in Essex. Not a pleasant connotation, but one which might come in useful someday nonetheless.
United States: Pregnancy tests in the US are widely available and sold in dollar stores as much as in supermarkets and pharmacies. There is no age limit for buying a test (contrary to some myths around this) and the tests are relatively inexpensive. Language barriers should not be a problem.
Italy: Italian like their loving, so it won't come as a surprise that pregnancy tests can be found in the health food sections of most supermarkets as well as pharmacies in the bigger cities. Ask for a test di gravidanza. If you’re finding it difficult to make yourself understood, try mimicking the signs of pregnancy, like a growing bump under your jumper.
China: The Chinese adore babies, so they’ll be very excited at the prospect of you having one. You could try going to a pharmacy and telling them you want a pregnancy test kit - zao yun jian ce shi ka – but unless you’ve spent the previous year mastering Mandarin tones it's unlikely they will understand you. Instead, draw a bump over your belly with your hand and rest a finger under your chin with a puzzled look on your face. That should do it.