The effects of an astrological combination needs to be considered against the backdrop of the time (kaal) and culture (desha) that we live in, as well as the personal background (paatra) of the person. This concept was discussed in a previous article, Three Principles for Reading a Horoscope. For instance, if you see planetary influences on the 8th house it could mean many things related to the 8th house: sudden change, obstacles, surgery, transformation, death etc. You have to use your judgment of the current time and conditions in which you live to determine how the results will play out.
I was recently faced with this exact situation as my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our son. I saw quite a few repeated patterns involving my wife's 8th house during the time period of the due date. Could it mean that the baby could die? or my wife could die in child birth?
Here is my wife's chart. During the time of our son's due date she was in her Saturn-Ketu dasha. Notice how Ketu is in the 8th house from Saturn in her natal chart.
Now look at the transits at the time of the due date in mid February 2008. Notice how both Saturn and Ketu were also transiting through Leo, which corresponds to her 8th house.
Transits mid February 2008
Going a step further now look at the Saptamsha chart which is the divisional chart for children and child birth. Notice how Saturn is the 8th lord and Ketu is again in the 8th house. Saturn and Ketu here are also in a 6/8 relationship to one another.
I was assuming that these 8th house influences would at least mean that there could be complications in the birth process, which there were. She never dialated enough to be able to have a vaginal birth. Nowadays, this is not a devastating situation because modern medicine has made caesarean section deliveries so safe. We joked that our son, who was born almost 10 lbs, must have looked down that birth canal and said, "You want me to go where?! I don't think so!! Don't you got any other options figured out?" Fortunately we did.
However, 100 years ago this same situation could have been tragic. The baby would have been stuck in the womb with no way out except a very risky cesearean section, the majority of which resulted in the death of the mother, if not the baby too. In my wife's case, the 8th house influences meant a surgery that lasted about 15 minutes, and not her death nor our son's - thank goodness! This is an example of how we have to understand the time and conditions in which we live in order to interpret the results of a combination correctly.