A sanitary napkin comprising a central absorbent element has been patented. The napkin has a cover layer and a barrier layer surrounding an absorbent core. The central absorbent element has opposite longitudinally extending edges and opposite lateral ends and a flap extending laterally from each respective longitudinal edge along a line of juncture that can be folded over a crotch portion of an undergarment in use. Each flap contains a central and a corner region that is adjacent to the line of juncture and a lateral centerline extending through the central region and bisecting the flap into a first and second half. The flap’s central region is formed from a non-elastic material and a portion of each corner region is formed from a flexible, elastic material so that each region is capable of elastically expanding in use.