Disclosed are absorbent foam materials suitable for use as or in the absorbent cores of absorbent articles, such as diapers which absorb and retain aqueous body fluids. Such foam materials comprise hydrophilic, flexible open-celled structures which are preferably prepared by polymerizing high internal phase (HIPE) water-in-oil emulsions. Such foam materials have a pore volume of from about 12 to 100 mL/g, and a capillary suction specific surface area of from about 0.5 to 5.0 m.sup.2 /g. These materials also exhibit a resistance to compression deflection such that a confining pressure of 5.1 kPa produces after 15 minutes a strain of from about 5% to 95% compression when the material is saturated at 37.degree. C. to its free absorbent capacity with synthetic urine.