In mammals, epigenetic reprogramming, the acquisition and loss of totipotency, and the first cell fate decision all occur within a 3-d window after fertilization from the one-cell zygote to the formation of the blastocyst. These processes are poorly understood in molecular detail, yet this is an essential prerequisite to uncover principles of stem cells, chromatin biology, and thus regenerative medicine. A unique feature of preimplantation development is the drastic genome-wide changes occurring to nuclear architecture. From studying somatic and in vitro cultured embryonic stem cells (ESCs) it is becoming increasingly established that the three-dimensional (3D) positions of genomic loci relative to each other and to specific compartments of the nucleus can act on the regulation of gene expression, potentially driving cell fate. However, the functionality, mechanisms, and molecular characteristics of the changes in nuclear organization during preimplantation development are only now beginning to be unraveled. Here, we discuss the peculiarities of nuclear compartments and chromatin organization during mammalian preimplantation development in the context of the transition from totipotency to pluripotency.