The placenta is the main organ that allows the fertilized oocyte to develop and mature. It allows the fetus to grow in the prenatal period by transferring oxygen and nutrients between the mother and the fetus. It acts as a basic endocrine organ which creates the physiological changes related to pregnancy and birth in the mother. Removal of wastes and carbon dioxide from the fetus is also achieved by the placenta. It prevents the rejection of the fetus and protects the fetus from harmful effects. Research on the human placenta focuses on understanding the placental structure and function to illuminate the complex structure of this important organ with technological advances. The structure and function of the placental barrier have been investigated with in vitro studies in 2D/3D, and various results have been published comparatively. In this review, we introduce the nature of the placenta with its 3D composition which has been called niche. Different cell types and placental structures are presented. We describe the systems and approaches used in the creation of current 3D placenta, placental transfer models as 3D placental barriers, and micro-engineered 3D placenta on-a-chip to explore complicated placental responses to nanoparticle exposure.